“As a political leader, you have to make hard political choices in the current economic climate and in the government’s efforts to show prudence in the use of State funds,” says deputy president’s spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa.
Mamoepa made the aforementioned remark when he reacted to Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa’s choice to board a commercial flight while carrying out an official duty instead of an executive flight.
Ramaphosa was spotted in economy class on a South African Airline flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg on his return from National Parliament where he had an official meeting with parliament members.
During the parliamentary sitting on Thursday, the vice president told MPs that the African National Congress-led government did not inherit a “clean sheet” and has been sorting out three issues at the same time.
According to him, the government inherited “a history of dispossession‚ a history of racial division‚ a history of oppression and exploitation” and that they had to deal with all three issues at the same time.
Ramaphosa noted that the divisions the country faced were carried out by “racists and sexist attitudes and practices” and that Zuma-led administration had managed to come up with a “draft of national action” which would help fight racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination in the country.
Speaking further, Mamopha stressed that Ramaphosa decided to board an ordinary flight to show his confidence in State-owned enterprises.
And to show government’s way of leading by example in the current tough economic climate.
He further revealed that the VP had flown commercial flights on various international trips including Mexico, Sweden, and South Sudan.
Last month, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was also spotted flying economy class to Johannesburg after his budget speech.
He was seen also in economy class on his way to Johannesburg from Sona 2016 where President Jacob Zuma enumerated measures to slash costs as the South African economy continues to dwindle.
Last September, Gordhan flew economy class to Durban.
Meanwhile, a report says South Africans wanting to travel are being advised to book flights before the yearly price flight hike on 1 April. Flight Centre’s Brent McLaren attributed the development to the weak rand.
Flight Centre says both domestic and international airfares are expected to increase by between 5 and 10 percent.
“Whatever we tend to be saving on the oil price at the moment because it’s US dollar based, whatever we are gaining in the drop of the oil price, we are losing with the exchange rate. It balances each other but clients aren’t seeing a saving,” McLaren said.
Two days ago, Police say two South African Airways (SAA) employees were charged with extortion after demanding money from a foreign national with invalid papers.
The duo was released on R2,000 bail after appearing in the Kempton Park Magistrates Court this week.
Police noted that this is the second time in two months that SAA employees have been arrested