Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) party, John Steenhuisen says that Cyril Ramaphosa must be held accountable “for the millions of Rands in taxpayer funds” that were spent during his African Peace Mission trip to Ukraine and Russia.
Steenhuisen announced that the DA will submit a series of urgent parliamentary questions to determine the full cost to the people of South Africa of what he calls a “shambolic political stunt.”
On Sunday, Ramaphosa concluded a two-days working visit to Ukraine and the Russian Federation where African leaders proposed a path for peace to the 16 month long conflict between the two countries.
Ramaphosa had the first meeting on Friday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, along with Senegalese President Macky Sall, Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema and Comoros President and Head of African Union Azali Assoumani. On the following day, the African delegation held discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg, Russia.
“We will be submitting a full set of questions to the Presidency to obtain a detailed breakdown of the security detail accompanying President Ramaphosa on this trip, as well as the total cost to the South Africa taxpayer.
“We will also be submitting a question to the President asking whether he stands by the cries of racism levelled at Polish authorities by his disgraced security chief, Wally Rhoode, who is also a prime suspect in the Phala Phala scandal,” the DA leader said.
A large contingent of specialised police officers including the Presidential Protection Services and a group of journalists were not allowed to disembark the plane which landed on Thursday at the Warsaw Chopin Airport, after they were accused of not presenting the correct travel permits. The South African delegation was forced to spend more than 24 hours in the charter plane.
Rhoode told reporters that the South African government obtained all the necessary permits and had been engaging with the Polish government for two weeks.
Steenhuisen said he will also be submitting questions to the National Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to determine what ammunition and other materials were sourced and loaded onto the aircraft, including the cost of all materials.
“Finally, I will be writing to the South African Auditor General requesting that the cost of this peacekeeping trip be declared as fruitless and wasteful expenditure, given the fact that due diligence was not carried out on the part of the South African state,” he added.
According to the Presidency, the proposal presented by African leaders during the peace mission to Ukraine and Russia “has created a foundation for future engagements that will contribute to a road to peace and resolution to the devastating conflict.”