The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, owes the public some answers about the scandal surrounding the millions of Rands wasted on flights for President Jacob Zuma during his recent visit to Russia.
The presidential Boeing Business Jet (“Inkwazi”) reportedly developed a minor technical problem that would have required an additional fuel stop on the way back to South Africa.
However, this was reportedly thought not to be acceptable and, in what turned out to be a major debacle, costing millions of Rands:
a Boeing Business Jet, operated by Longtail Aviation, was routed from Dubai to Moscow to transport the President to Pretoria but was not utilised;
a Bombadier Challanger 605, operated by Hyperion Aviation, which was based in Moscow, was eventually utilised to transport the President back to Pretoria; and
Ministers and officials, stranded in Moscow, used commercial flights to return from Moscow to Johannesburg.
There was reportedly absolutely no reason, other than an additional fuel stop, why the President could not have returned on “Inkwazi” and millions of Rands could have been saved.
I will therefore:
submit written parliamentary questions probing the total cost of all the flights; and
request a hearing on this matter be scheduled before the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.
We have to get to the bottom of this matter and cannot sit back and allow President Jacob Zuma to get away with wasting millions of Rands on flights.
Issued by David Maynier on behalf of DA, David Maynier is Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans