Zuma used chartered flight to US

2014-09-23 22:30
(Picture: GCIS)

(Picture: GCIS)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma used a chartered plane to travel to the United States, the defence department said on Tuesday.

"The presidential aircraft is on a scheduled service and, therefore, not available. The option of chartering depends on the availability of the presidential aircraft," spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said.

He did not say how much the flight would cost, saying that was based on the National Treasury contract and the services rendered, and this would be reported in the department's annual report. However, the SABC reported on Tuesday that the flight cost about R6m.

Zuma arrived in the United States on Sunday. He was expected to address the UN general assembly meeting in New York on Wednesday.

His spokesperson Mac Maharaj said the president would use the occasion to thank the UN and the international community for supporting South Africa as it marked 20 years of democracy.

Zuma would hold a special reception to thank the international community.

He would also attend a number of side events forming part of the UN assembly's programme, Maharaj said.

Zuma will be accompanied by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.

In 2012, Mapisa-Nqakula cancelled plans to buy a R2bn presidential jet.

She then reportedly said last year that the defence force would buy new presidential jets and planes as soon as possible.

She said the department was spending millions on chartering aircraft because many of the current planes were so old.

"Every week we pay millions of rand chartering aircraft for strategic airlift capability, which far exceeds the money we would have spent by purchasing," Mapisa-Nqakula said at the time.

"If you look at some of our aircraft, they're 60 to 62 years old and should be museum pieces. I won't elaborate on some of the experiences I've had..., but this process [to buy aircraft] must begin."

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  pretoria  |  us

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