03 June 2012
A purchase of a $150m (about R1.26bn) luxury jet for President Jacob Zuma has been put on ice after former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s offices issued a statement advising defence secretary Sam Makhudu Gulube to suspend the purchase so current Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula could review the deal.
Sisulu said in the statement: “We had [previously] come to the conclusion that purchasing was the best option, but we did not want to impose that on the new minister… we wanted her to look at the challenge, analyse it and find the best solution without any pressure.”
The price of the luxury jet certainly burns a hole in taxpayer’s pockets. The 300-seater Boeing 777-200LR would cost $150m (about R1.26bn) and an extra $80m (about R672.5m) to reconfigure.
In addition to the jet for Zuma a Global Express 600 costing $28m (R235m) was to be purchases for the deputy president, bringing the total bill to $258m (about R2.17bn) was also included in the deal.
DA MP David Maynier suggested to Sisulu that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela investigate the deal and whether it was warranted.
He was particularly scathing to the spending of the exorbitant amount saying, ”If British Prime Minister David Cameron can use British Airways to fly, then Zuma can fly SAA. It is simply wrong to spend R2bn on a presidential jet when so many people in the country are poor. I believe a presidential jet should only be used in exceptional circumstances.”
The defence ministry declined to say whether the purchase had indeed been suspended – SAPATags: Arms Deal, Boeing, Corruption, DA, Expenditure, Jet, Public Protector, Service Delivery, Thuli Madonsela, Zuma