Democratic Alliance (Cape Town)

29 June 2012

South Africa: Public Protector Must Investigate Dodgy R2 Billion Zuma VIP Jet Deal

press release

Photo: The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa
President Jacob Zuma and Parliament Speaker, Max Sisulu (file photo).

The Democratic Alliance will request the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, to investigate the acquisition of a new Boeing 777-200 LR "Long Range" business jet for President Jacob Zuma.

The defence department is reportedly in the process of acquiring a Boeing 777-200 LR business jet for President Jacob Zuma as well as a Bombadier Global Express 6000 for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

The Boeing 777-200 LR business jet is a monster of an aircraft designed to carry up to 300 passengers. The aircraft reportedly held the record for the longest non-stop flight for a commercial airline.

The total cost of the Boeing 777-200 LR business jet is reportedly US$235 million (+/- R 1.99 billion) and the cost of the Bombadier Global Express 6000 is reportedly US$28 million (+/-R 237 million). The total cost of both aircraft is therefore US$ 263 million - approximately R 2.2 billion.

It is simply wrong to waste nearly R2billion on President Jacob Zuma's new business jet when so many people in our country are poor. We could provide nearly 24 000 houses for families who do not have shelter with the R2 billion being blown on a new Boeing 777-200LR for President Jacob Zuma.

Moreover, why does President Jacob Zuma need a new jet when his existing jet - the Boeing Business Jet ("Inkwazi") - is in mint condition after undergoing a three month scheduled maintenance period at great expense in Switzerland in 2011?

It is also of major concern that the defence department appears to have circumvented normal tender procedures. There are several questions about this deal including:

Why was Professor Sipho Seepe, ministerial adviser to former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, reportedly the "middleman" in the deal to acquire the aircraft?;

Why was no competitive tender issued for the acquisition of the aircraft so that all potential suppliers could have had an opportunity to submit proposals for the supply of the aircraft?; and

Why was Armscor, the defence department's acquisition agency for capital equipment, not primarily responsible for the project to acquire the Boeing 777-200LR for President Jacob Zuma?

There is something very fishy with the deal to acquire a new Boeing 777-200 LR business jet for President Jacob Zuma.

The DA will, therefore, request the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, to investigate the deal to acquire a Boeing 777-200 LR business jet for President Jacob Zuma and a Bombadier Global Express 6000 for Deputy- President Kgalema Motlanthe. This is beyond wasteful expenditure and should not be allowed to happen.

David Maynier, Shadow Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans

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InFocus

South African Minister Urges Suspension of Presidential Jet

President Jacob Zuma and Parliament Speaker, Max Sisulu (file photo).

Former defence minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, has advised the suspension of the purchase of a luxury jet for President Jacob Zuma. Read more »