Zuma's new jet not on Armscor's 'shopping list' yet

2014-10-17 16:58

Controversial plans by the department of defence to buy a VIP presidential jet have not been handed on to Armscor, the state-owned arms procurement agency told MPs yesterday.

Neither were two other projects involving the acquisition of transport aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), acting Armscor CEO Sipho Mkwanazi told Parliament's defence portfolio committee.

He was responding to a question by Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier, who wanted to know the names, current status and budget of four projects involving the acquisition of transport aircraft, UAVs, offshore patrol vessels, and a new VIP jet for use by President Jacob Zuma.

Maynier noted that the "high-level" projects were not mentioned in Armscor's latest (2013/14) annual report, but it was in the public interest that the status of the projects be known.

Mkwanazi told the committee that Armscor was busy only with the department of defence's requirements for offshore patrol vessels.

"What has been mentioned [by Maynier], are not projects that are already with Armscor, with the exception of the offshore and onshore [vessels], in terms of the [project's] requirements.

"The others that have been mentioned, for instance the VIP jet, are not yet with us. And then the other one ... the UAV project, I'm not sure whether it's with Armscor or not. The transport aircraft, it's also not with us."

He said that only once the defence department had finalised its requirements was a project handed on to Armscor.

"Then Armscor starts working on that project based on the requirements that have been finalised by the [department]. The one that has been finalised by the department of defence is the offshore and onshore patrol boats."

He could not say what the budget was for the vessels "because [this] is determined by the response of the industry as soon as we have gone out on an RFO [request for offer]. Then we get the RFO processed and know how much it's going to cost."

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula indicated last year that National Treasury had allocated money for the purchase of a new VIP jet, at a reported cost of R2 billion, for use by Zuma.

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