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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cost of flying SANDF chief and “delegation” to Cuba close to half a million Rand

Cost of flying SANDF chief and "delegation" to Cuba close to half a
million Rand
Written by defenceWeb, Wednesday, 16 November 2016

That close to half a million Rand can be spent on foreign air travel
when key defence areas are being neglected, essential equipment is
falling apart and South Africa is struggling to manage its peace support
commitments is a very real indication cost containment measures are
being ignored by the Department of Defence.

This was the reaction of opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) MP and
shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Maris to a written
response to a Parliamentary question he asked close on six months ago.

He was this week informed, in writing, that "R442 643.52 was spent on
flight tickets on the trip to Cuba by CSANDF (General Solly Shoke) and
his delegation from June 13 to 19, 2016". Other expenses incurred during
the visit to the Caribbean island nation including accommodation and car
rental were, according to the reply "catered for by the host".

Marais maintains expenditure of this nature is "completely unacceptable"
and points out the air travel was for Shoke, his wife and "three, yet to
be identified, officials".

Another area where at least part of the defence budget could be more
profitably spent is maritime protection. "This is supposedly a priority
in terms of Operation Phakisa, but it is woeful."

He will be posing further questions on the Cuban trip to Defence and
Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to find out what
exactly Shoke and his delegation were doing in Cuba as well as whether
the flight costs were in line with containment measures set down by
National Treasury.

"The whole truth behind this trip must be known," Marais said adding the
Department of Defence was wasting peoples' money and must be held
accountable.

According to the 2015/16 Department of Defence annual report, the
Minister visited Cuba in December last year, one of four international
engagements she participated in during the review period. The others
were in April 2015 involving Russian, Indonesia, the United Arab
Emirates and Turkey; September 2015 with the United Kingdom and the
United States and Thailand in November 2015.

Cuban technicians are in South Africa carrying out maintenance on South
African military vehicles under Operation Thusano while several South
African pilots and air traffic controllers are being trained in Cuba.

Source: Cost of flying SANDF chief and "delegation" to Cuba close to
half a million Rand | defenceWeb -
http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=45924:cost-of-flying-sandf-chief-and-delegation-to-cuba-close-to-half-a-million-rand&catid=111:sa-defence&Itemid=242
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