Sisulu: SAAF needs new planes

2009-11-05 16:14

Cape Town - The R2.9bn refund that the government is expecting to receive after cancelling its contract with Airbus may be used to buy new planes for the SA Air Force, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Thursday.

This comes after the government announced that it cancelled its contract to buy eight multi-billion rand Airbus A400M aircraft.

Sisulu said cancelling the deal has left SAAF in dire need of improved airlift capabilities, because it could not continue using outdated Herculus C130S planes.

She said she would ask Cabinet to give it the R2.9bn refund to shop for an alternative.

The government dropped the deal after "re-evaluating the benefit to South Africa and the taxpayer, Sisulu said.

Costs skyrocketed

The cost of the deal had sky-rocketed from R17bn when it was inked five years ago to R47bn.

"The termination of the contract is due to extensive cost escalation and the supplier's failure to deliver the aircraft within the stipulated timeframes," government spokesperson Themba Maseko told a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday.

Sisulu said by April 2005, government was warned of "challenges" in meeting the delivery deadlines. It later emerged delivery would be four to five years late and that the planes would cost an additional R30bn.

"We had to re-evaluate the benefit to South Africa and the taxpayer. We have withdrawn as from yesterday (Wednesday).

"We hope the R2.9bn will be refunded to us as provided in the contract," she told Parliament's portfolio committee on defence.

"We are confident that we have kept to our contractual obligations so we see no reason why the R2.9bn will not be refunded to us."

Airbus surprised

Sisulu and Maseko said South Africa would not face any penalties for reneging on the contract with the troubled European aircraft maker, which expressed surprise at Pretoria's decision.

Airbus spokesperson Linden Birns said: "It very much regrets such an announcement, especially at a time where the programme is making very good progress towards first flight before the end of the year.

"At this point in time, Airbus Military is studying the possible financial and industrial impact of this announcement."

According to Birns, the company expected delivery of the planes to start three years after the first test flight. Under the deal, South Africa had the right to pull out if delivery of the aircraft were delayed by 14 months.

Democratic Alliance spokesperson David Maynier said it was the right decision, but there was a still a need to appoint an ad hoc committee to probe how the government could decide to buy aircraft "it did not want and could not afford".

"This contract has raised so many questions over so many years that we need to investigate the matter."


Read more on:    airbus  |  saaf  |  lindiwe sisulu

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Saturday Cape Town - 07:38 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 gives you the powerful combination of...

From R2820.00

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you more

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.