The DA welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, that the process to purchase the new transcontinental Boeing 777-200 LR for President Jacob Zuma has been cancelled.
The former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, appears to have initiated a dodgy process to purchase two new transcontinental VIP aircraft at a cost of more than R2 billion.
We have maintained from the start that the process to purchase the aircraft was flawed. There was no normal competitive tender process as required by National Treasury regulations and the Public Finance Management Act (No. 1 of 1999).
I therefore requested the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, to investigate this matter and we must now await the outcome of the investigation.
However, the Minister also announced that the defence department will be embarking on a new procurement process.
This means, in effect, that the defence department intends to push ahead and purchase or lease up to four VIP aircraft in line with the decision taken by Cabinet in 2010.
This could, based on previous experience, mean that billions of rands are likely to be spent on VIP aircraft.
It is simply wrong to waste billions of rands on new VIP aircraft when so many people in our country are poor.
President Jacob Zuma has a perfectly adequate existing aircraft - "Inkwazi", a Boeing 737 business jet - which is in mint condition.
We must make do with what we already have.
David Maynier, Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans