Jet lag of flight investigation

Any hint of avarice or corruption by public servants and politicians naturally generates instant outrage and calls for public scrutiny.

Any hint of avarice or corruption by public servants and politicians naturally generates instant outrage and calls for public scrutiny.

Thus it is not surprising that the expensive travels of deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka have raised taxpayers' ire.

At issue - among other things - is Mlambo-Ngcuka's flight to Australia on a chartered flight which cost taxpayers at least R3million in October. A fortnight ago it emerged the deputy president's recent trip to the UK cost a whopping R4,5million.

These trips - including those undertaken by other senior politicians - are now the subject of an inquiry set up by Defence Minister Terror Lekota, whose department's procurement procedures for chartering aircraft is to come under the spotlight.

That Lekota himself is unhappy with the costly international flights undertaken by the deputy president is useful, as is his willingness to have his department scrutinised for any lapses.

We believe, though, he could have launched an internal investigation instead. The inquiry is an expensive exercise when an internal probe would have swiftly targeted those responsible for VIPs' travelling arrangements.

What happens to the VIPs' travel arrangements in the meantime? Does it mean politicians are grounded for four months until the inquiry makes its findings and its recommendations are implemented?

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