Phumzile’s trip: All will be revealed

The Presidency is to issue clarification on Tuesday on Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka’s controversial trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over Christmas, The Star reported.

Presidency spokesperson Murphy Morobe promised late on Monday afternoon everything would be clearer on Tuesday, either by way of a written statement or through a press conference.

This followed reports that Thuthukile Mazibuko-Skweyiya, the wife of Minister of Social Development Zola Skweyiya, accompanied the deputy president on her holiday trip.

On Tuesday, Business Day reported that the deputy president may also have taken along top businessman Saki Macozoma.

Morobe did not deny that Mazibuko-Skweyiya had accompanied the deputy president on her state-sponsored vacation.

He said all the issues would be clarified on Tuesday.

Morobe and social development ministry spokesperson Lakela Kaunda confirmed, however, that Minister Skweyiya did not accompany the presidential party.

Skweyiya was acting president until December 27, when the party travelled to the UAE, and Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang took over for a day.

Attempts to find out about Skweyiya’s whereabouts from December 27 onwards have been unsuccessful.

The Star said: “It is understood that the Presidency hopes to try to salvage this public-relations disaster and put the issue of the trip to rest.”

Business Day also quoted an unnamed source as saying there is information suggesting that Mlambo-Ngcuka’s flight did not travel directly from the Waterkloof air-force base to Dubai, but may have stopped to pick up a mystery passenger — which would violate her travel benefit, as she is entitled only to be flown to her final destination.

The deputy president may face a parliamentary ethics inquiry if either Macozoma or Mazibuko-Skweyiya shared her flight.

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