No comment on Motlanthe jet

By Drum Digital
24 October 2012

The department of defence has declined to comment on a report on Wednesday that it leased a private jet, at a cost of several million rand

, to fly Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe

"We do not discuss the transportation of VVIP (very, very important people)," said defence spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini.

Eyewitness News (EWN) reported on Wednesday that Motlanthe was flown to Italy earlier this month on a private Boeing 727, despite the country having an "adequate air force fleet".

A photograph posted on a government website showed Motlanthe exiting the plane with his partner Gugu Mtshali.

EWN reported that the aircraft was owned by African National Congress supporter and arms dealer Ivor Ichikowitz.

It was the same plane used by President Jacob Zuma in his controversial shadow plane trip to the United Nations general assembly, in the United States, last year.

It also reported that an official Air Force Falcon 50 was used to fly African Union Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, last week, even though she was no longer a government official.

Dlamini confirmed that Dlamini-Zuma was flown in a state aircraft.

"The flight was an official task. It was a gesture to the AU and was a contribution by the South African government," he said.

In July, the government canned a R2 billion deal to procure a new jet for the president.

-by Sapa

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