Presidential jet: DA challenges Sisulu

2012-07-03 14:33
Lindiwe Sisulu (File, Die Burger)

Lindiwe Sisulu (File, Die Burger)

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Cape Town - Former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu must produce proof that tender process to buy a new presidential jet was sound, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

"Sisulu should produce documentary evidence that the minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan, approved the deviation from normal competitive bidding processes," DA MP David Maynier said.

Sisulu on Monday said she was "absolutely convinced" that the department had followed correct procurement processes regarding the R2bn Boeing 777-200 Long Range business jet.

She said the defence department had taken advice from National Treasury as well as the accountant general on the potential purchase, which had been making headlines since the weekend.

A spokesperson for Sisulu, who is now minister of public service and administration, on Monday said she had called for the deal to be suspended to allow her successor at defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to redefine the department's priorities.

Maynier also took issue with this step, calling it an attempt to distance herself from the matter.

"This sounds too much like a useful pretext to extricate herself from a dubious deal to purchase a new jet for President [Jacob] Zuma," he said.

Die Burger newspaper reported that Sisulu had planned to use a refund the government had secured on the cancelled purchase of eight A400M Airbus military transport planes to buy the new jet.

The daily said Sisulu wrote to Gordhan last month, asking to be exempted from the normal tender rules because buying a new plane for the president was a "matter of national security".

Maynier said if Sisulu produced documents to prove that Gordhan approved the deviation from the normal bidding process, he would withdraw his request that the public protector investigate the matter.

Both the DA and the Inkatha Freedom Party said it was unconscionable that the government would spend that much on a presidential jet when so many South Africans lived in poverty.

"This money could be better spent in trying to alleviate the many burning issues our country faces, such as our socio-economic challenges," the IFP's defence spokesperson Albert Mncwango said.
- SAPA
Read more on:    da  |  pravin gordhan  |  nosiviwe mapisa-nqakula  |  lindiwe sisulu  |  government spending  |  military  |  tenders
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