Thursday, February 14, 2013

Motlanthe spokesperson sticks to his guns on island holiday

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s spokesperson is sticking to his guns after presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj denied the existence of a “presidential manual”.

On Sunday, City Press revealed that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe had spent 12 days on the Island of Desroches in the Seychelles over the festive season after he had lost the contest for the position of ANC president at the party’s Mangaung conference in December.

Motlanthe’s spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, said Motlanthe covered his accommodation bill.

The state covered the cost of a Falcon 900 and a charter plane – estimated to be about R2 million – and the expenses for security personnel.

This was in accordance with the presidential manual, Masebe said.

But today, on Talk Radio 702, Mac Maharaj said there was no such document.

Asked to comment on Maharaj’s claim, Masebe said he was sticking to his earlier statement. “I don’t want to get involved in what Mac had to say. Ask him about that. According to a policy document called the presidential manual the deputy did nothing wrong,” he added.

Masebe said the manual was a confidential document and not for public consumption.

City Press filed an application on Monday, through the Promotion of Access to Information Act, to get a copy of the manual.

In 2006 the Public Protector investigated allegations of unethical and improper conduct against former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka relating to her unofficial visit to the United Arab Emirates. He stated that the president and deputy president were not governed by the ministerial handbook and that the presidential handbook, which was in a draft phase, should be put before Cabinet for consideration to regulate the Presidency’s use of public funds.

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