More wasted on Zuma's Russian jaunt

2015-05-14 10:26
The Canadair CL605 in which President Jacob Zuma eventually arrived back from Russia.

The Canadair CL605 in which President Jacob Zuma eventually arrived back from Russia. (Thomas Rosskopf, PlanePictures)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - More money was wasted on top of the more than R2 million which the state had to pay for the empty plane that was sent to fetch President Jacob Zuma after a weekend visit to Russia.

It has now emerged that four officials had to be sent home on hastily booked commercial flights.

Zuma and his entourage had flown on the presidential jet, Inkwazi, to attend the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2 in Moscow on Saturday, along with more than a dozen other heads of state.

When Inkwazi developed a minor fuel problem, which meant the presidential plane would have had to stop and refuel in Ankara, Turkey and Entebbe, Uganda, on the return journey, “a higher power” had reportedly deemed the security risk too high and ordered a second plane be chartered.

The air force then chartered a plane from Longtail Aviation.

Informed sources say this plane was a Boeing Business Jet, similar to the Inkwazi in size. But the air force officials had chartered the plane not knowing the Russian government does not allow ­Bahamian aircraft in its air space.

The Russian government then took over, through the SA ambassador in Russia Nomasonto Sibanda-Thusi, and chartered a third plane to return Zuma. The third plane was a Challenger 605, from Hyperion Aviation, which is based in Malta. This airline flies daily from Moscow and has the Russian government’s approval. The Challenger arrived at Waterkloof on Tuesday afternoon, long after Inkwazi had landed.

While the Challenger comfortably fitted Zuma, his fifth wife Thobeka and his head of operations Lakela Kaunda, it did not have space for four members of staff — two from the Presidency and two from government communication services. These four were hastily booked onto commercial flights, at a cost of at least R30 000 per person, if they flew economy class. A business class ticket costs R20 000 more.

The Challenger departed from Vnukova, Moscow’s VIP airport, at 22:00 (Russian time), an hour and a half late, on Monday. The day-late arrival meant Zuma missed a Home Affairs service delivery programme on Tuesday.

Sources also said the Challenger’s flight plan did not show a head of state was on board, which is contrary to ­aviation regulations. The air force, Department of Defence and Presidency had not reacted to queries late on Wednesday.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  pretoria  |  government spending

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

How much food do you need to concentrate?

We have been taught that we need three meals a day in order to make it through the day and while most of us indulge in more than our fair share there is a large portion of South Africans who are living off barely enough to sustain them.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.