Air force chief in hospital

2011-11-05 12:49

Johannesburg - SA Air Force chief lieutenant general Carlo Gagiano has been in a military hospital for the last three days due to stress, according to a report on Saturday.

Initially it was thought he had suffered a heart attack but stress was later confirmed, the Beeld newspaper reported.

Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu sent flowers and would visit Gagiano "as soon as possible", her spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said.

Gagiano and Secretary of Defence Mpumi Mpofu resigned with immediate effect on Friday after a string of incidents beleaguered the air force's transportation services.

It was believed the hospitalisation stemmed from work-related stress.

However, according to The Cape Times, Sisulu has refused to accept Gagiano's letter.

Resignation not accepted

It said the minister lost her patience when Mpofu failed to give satisfactory answers over the various debacles.

"The minister still does not accept lieutenant general Gagiano's resignation and stands by him," Mabaya was quoted as saying.

Mpofu was replaced by chief financial officer Mziwonke Dlabantu.

Some of the incidents which have plagued the air force's reputation include one in which a VIP plane, chartered by it, developed technical problems as it was taking off from the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria last month. Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was on board the plane.

In September, the plane the deputy president was flying on to attend the opening of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand missed its first landing slot and in 2009, his plane was forced to make an emergency landing while flying back from Libya.

Another incident pertained to the revelation that two pilots who flew President Jacob Zuma to the United States earlier this year had been implicated in a failed 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup.

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