DA: Sisulu must explain back-up planes

2012-01-21 14:35
Johannesburg - Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu must take full responsibility for the use of two back-up planes that shadowed President Jacob Zuma's jet to the United States, the Democratic Alliance said on Saturday.

"Sisulu must publicly explain why it was necessary to use two aircrafts to shadow the presidential jet," the party spokesperson on defence David Maynier said in a statement.

He was reacting to the admittance by the SA Air Force on Friday that the Bombardier Global Express shadowed Zuma's Boeng Business jet on his recent visit to the United Nations Security Council meeting in New York.

Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano told reporters in Johannesburg that one additional aircraft was there because there was a time-critical engagement on the way back.

He said a standby aircraft was vital to ensure the president did not miss the appointment if the one being used experienced technical problems. However, Maynier insisted that two more aircrafts were used in the trip.

"I understand that not one, but two aircrafts were used to shadow Zuma's jet," he said.

"I will be surprised if the combined costs of the aircrafts did not cost up to R10m. This is simply mind-boggling."

Maynier also asked why Zuma and his staff did not use a commercial flight. He said this was because the SA Airways was now offering direct flights to New York from Johannesburg.

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