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cancelling the deal has left SAAF in dire need of improved airlift capabilities, because it could not continue using outdated Herculus C130S planes.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 We have withdrawn as from yesterday (Wednesday).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


BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. 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


There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with 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.