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Govt's R800k Abuja flight questioned

A row is brewing after govt spent over R800k to privately fly three ministers to Abuja.

A row is brewing after govt spent over R800k to privately fly three ministers to Abuja. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A row is brewing over government spending over R800,000 to fly three ministers to Nigeria in a chartered plane.

The flight left Lanseria Airport on 7 May, Election Day, for the Nigerian capital of Abuja, whisking the ministers of finance, trade and industry and cooperative governance to the World Economic Forum on Africa.

Details of the flight emerged in a written reply by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene to a parliamentary question on Tuesday.

But Nene's spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane has defended the decision.

He says the ministers had to vote and would have missed two days of the World Economic Forum on Africa's three-day meeting if they'd taken a commercial flight.

"Had they gone on a commercial flight, they would have missed two days of the summit."

But the Democratic Alliance (DA) wants an investigation into why the decision was taken.

Strict guidelines govern the chartering of aircraft for state business.

DA Member of Parliament, Alf Lees, says he'll be asking more questions about the chartered flight.

"We're also asking the chair of Scopa to look into the matter because it's a matter which we believe may well be wasteful or certainly irregular expenditure."

Meanwhile, it's also emerged that the National Treasury has spent R1.2 million on pot plants over the past five years.

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