My sincere and humble greetings, President Jacob Zuma.
I hope my letter finds you in a good financial state this January.
Perhaps I should begin by saying that I am truly inspired not only by your charisma but also because you are the first man I have heard of who has been flown out of this country on multiple planes all at once. Of course, Chuck Norris is yet to attempt this one.
I think you are the only man I know who can afford flying to New York accompanied by two other empty planes.
For a local kasi-boy like me who has never even been on a single plane, I can only wonder how one guy flies in three planes all at once. In fact, a friend of mine said maybe you had flown with wife number one, number two and maybe wife number three. I told him that would be ridiculous, wouldn't it? Not the number of wives but the fact that each wife flies in her own plane. Now that would be ridiculous.
According to news reports, it took three jets, 16 pilots and at least 18 cabin crew members to get you to New York and back. Now, Mr. President, I have heard of the motto “Go big or go home” before. But you, Mr. President, just took that motto to totally different heights.
Even the centenary party you threw over two weeks ago for the ANC was proof that you don’t do small. You threw what most of us would call “one hell of a mother” centenary party and it only cost R100 million. I am just shocked that, when there are so many hungry children, homeless families and jobless people, the media could only comment about how much of a bore your speech was.
Again the previous week 'critics' attacked you for the multimillion-rand chartering of “shadow” aircraft for your flight to a UN Security Council meeting earlier this month. "When will the critics stop?” is probably what you are wondering. I mean, it is not your fault that you are a big money spender or is it? You have always been spending money you never had. And both your office and I know that it is the same critics (DA) that advised Schabir Shaik to ask for a repayment of an alledged R2 million that he loaned to you. Poor you Mr. President, everyone is always out to get you; but what the DA and Shaik do not understand is that the money you are stylishly spending is not yours but the tax payers’ money.
I can understand why most people are "jealous" of you, Mr. President. Who wouldn’t be? Opposition parties are just bitter because the Defence Ministry would never do the same for them. In fact, the Defence Ministry would actually think that any SA citizen is out of their mind to even suggest flying in not just two but three planes. I have always known you were a very important man, Mr. President, but this is a perfect reminder to all those who have recently forgotten that you are in fact still running this country.
If you would allow me Mr. President, I’d like to shove these numbers down the throats of all the "jealous" people who are making a lot of noise about your travelling style. News24 reported that “according to aviation sources it can cost up to $15 000 (R120 000) an hour to charter a Global Express, with a flight to New York taking up to 18 hours.”
Now I would actually challenge a lot of your education system’s pupils to do the math on this one but, even with their good grades I doubt they can. So let me simplify it for them, Mr. President. I even need Julius to understand this one. If it costs one plane R120 000 per hour, then for 18 hours it would cost the plane R2 160 000. Now, if there are three planes, it would mean they (all three planes) cost R6 480 000 just to fly to New York. Now that is quite a lot of money, money that our education and health institutes could do with.
I am relieved that most families without food, without a proper house or flushing toilet and the victims of the recent floods will probably not read this letter. I am relieved because if they did read this letter, Mr. President, they would suggest that you could have at least used some of this money to help them instead.
Perhaps people just don’t get it, Mr. President. They don’t see things the way you do. They just don’t get that there should be a huge gap or difference in living standards between them and their president.
I recently read that your jet flew solo to Qatar last week. To be honest Mr. President that was really 'disappointing'. I am certain that after hearing from the UN dignitaries what a grand arrival you made down in New York, people from Qatar expected you to arrive in not three, not four but six (empty) planes this time. We have set a precedent as South Africans and now we can’t maintain the standard or even do better.
But I think you decided on a solo flight on purpose Mr. President; you like to keep us guessing. There has always been this mystery and unpredictable status that so many admire about you. It is good that you keep us guessing as to what mind boggling, newsworthy stunt you might pull next. Always ahead of the opposition I see.
Oh, before I leave you to get back to some brainstorming of the next mind boggling event, there is one thing that always puzzled me about this plane shadowing story: if the SAA Boeing A340-200 was shadowing your jet “Inkwazi” just in case it suffered a mechanical fault, what would have happened if indeed Inkwazi suffered a mechanical fault? Were you going to do a mid-air exchange? And I suppose the Global Express aircraft was there just in case the Boeing also suffered a mechanical fault then you’d do another mid air exchange.
I always knew that MacGyver (an American fictional secret agent) had nothing on you... Well Mr. President, let me leave you to rest, I am sure you must be tired from your trip to Qatar where you probably blessed them with your Zzzuma speech and knocked them dead.
Vusi Kokela (your biggest fan)