Zweli Mkhize must explain wedding flights

Sizwe Mchunu, MPP

DA Leader in KZN

Zweli Mkhize must explain why it was necessary to spend R1.2 million on luxury private flights. In particular, he must explain why it was necessary for the people of KZN to fly him to various weddings at great cost to the state.

The office of the current premier of KZN has come out in defence of Dr Mkhize, stating that the luxury trips to weddings were in his capacity as Premier of KZN. It is very difficult to imagine a scenario wherein a Premier would attend a wedding in his state capacity.

We do not take this response from the Premier’s office seriously and demand to know exactly how these trips to these weddings were justified as trips in Dr Mkhize’s professional capacity.
Included in the parliamentary reply we received on this issue, are flights to two weddings.  The first took place on 24 April 2012 in Umtata and is listed only as “the wedding of Sambula”.  The trip cost R58 809.  The second wedding was on 1 July 2012 at Hluhluwe and is recorded as “Dumile’s wedding”.  The flight cost was R22 204.

The Premier’s office must explain exactly how these trips constituted official visits by the former Premier. We will submit questions to this effect.

Our follow-up parliamentary questions to the KZN Office of the Premier will ask:
–              Who is ‘Sambula’ and what relationship does he/she have with the Premier?
–              Who is ‘Dumile’ and what relationship does he/she have with the Premier?
–              Who was the (a) groom and (b) bride at the Umtata wedding?
–              Who was the (a) groom and (b) bride at the Hluhluwe wedding?
–              Why was it necessary for the former Premier to attend these weddings in his capacity as Premier?
–              Why did the former Premier deem it necessary to charter a private flight to Umtata?
–              Why did the former Premier deem it necessary to charter a private flight to Hluhluwe?

Politicians must be held accountable for how state money is spent.  There are commercial carriers which could have served the former Premier’s needs – at a fraction of the cost – including an air service to Ulundi to reach the more rural parts of the province.

We do not buy the Premier’s Office’s excuses. The former Premier must step forward and explain himself.