Sisulu to engage air force chief after his recovery

2011-11-07 14:20

Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has resolved to wait for SA air force chief Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano to recover before discussing his resignation letter with him.

“We will wait for the general to make a full recovery,” department spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini said today. Gagiano has been in a military hospital since last week, due to stress.

He and secretary of defence Mpumi Mpofu resigned with immediate effect on Friday after a string of mishaps plagued the air force’s transportation services.

Dlamini said: “When he is out of hospital and discharged, the minister will engage with him about his resignation letter.” He was unable to give an update on Gagiano’s condition.

Initially, it was thought Gagiano had suffered a heart attack, but stress was later confirmed, according to the Beeld newspaper.

Sisulu, who has refused to accept Gagiano’s letter, sent flowers. She was reported to have lost her patience when Mpofu failed to give satisfactory answers about various mishaps. Mpofu was replaced by chief financial officer Mziwonke Dlabantu.

Last month a VIP plane carrying deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, which had been chartered by the air force, developed technical problems as it was taking off from Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria.

In September, the plane Motlanthe was flying on to attend the opening of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand missed its first landing slot. In 2009, his plane was forced to make an emergency landing while returning from Libya.

It has also emerged that two pilots who flew President Jacob Zuma to the US earlier this year had been implicated in a failed coup in Equatorial Guinea in 2004.

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