New planes for presidency to replace ‘museum pieces’

2013-05-25 11:29

The defence force will buy new presidential jets and planes as soon as possible.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told the Cape Town Press Club yesterday the department was spending millions each week on chartering aircraft because many of the current planes were so old, the Saturday Star reported.

According to the report the department was looking into buying VVIP (very very important people) jets as well as strategic airlifting capacity planes as soon as possible.

“We’re running out of time,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

She said the Treasury had allocated money to buy the new planes.

These new aircraft would cater for VVIP’s including President Jacob Zuma, the deputy president, former presidents and the minister and deputy minister of defence, the newspaper reported.

“Every week we pay millions of rand chartering aircraft for strategic airlift capability, which far exceeds the money we would have spent by purchasing,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

“If you look at some of our aircraft, they’re 60 to 62 years old and should be museum pieces. I won’t elaborate on some of the experiences I’ve had... but this process [to buy aircraft] must begin.”

In 2009 Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe had to make an emergency landing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after problems with his jet and in 2011 the aircraft he was due to travel in had problems before take-off from Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria.

Last year Mapisa-Nqakula cancelled plans to buy a R2 billion presidential jet.

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