Ailing Gagiano to stay as Air Force head

2011-11-08 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano plans to stay on as head of the air force after the minister of defence did not accept the resignation he tendered last week.

Gagiano was booked into 1 Military Hospital with severe stress and is recuperating at home.

An air force spokesperson told Beeld yesterday that Gagiano plans to return to work as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Defence Department said a high-level inquiry has started to determine how two men, who were involved in a coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea, could be allowed to pilot President Jacob Zuma in a chartered Boeing 727 to New York last month.

Ndivhuwo Mabaya, spokesperson for Lindiwe Sisulu, minister of defence, said Lieutenant-General Solly Shoke, Chief of the SA National Defence Force, has already appointed a commission of inquiry into the matter.

Beeld reported earlier that the air force does not have pilots who are qualified to fly a Boeing 727. Advocate Pikkie Greeff, national secretary of the SA National Defence Force Union (Sanwu), said it is a scandal that the air force cannot afford to keep qualified pilots of this calibre. “But now they have enough money to spend R1,6 billion on new VIP jets.”

Greeff said qualified pilots left the air force for better salaries in the private sector.

Mabaya yesterday said the air force does not have a Boeing 727 in its fleet and that is why it did not retain qualified 727 pilots. “Airplanes are not like cars. Helicopter pilots cannot necessarily fly jumbo jets.”

Mabaya said the air force has qualified pilots to fly all the types of aircraft in its fleet.

He confirmed that the department is urgently looking to buy two new VIP jets for the president and the deputy president.

An independent expert on air transport suggested the department will look at a Boeing 777 or an Airbus 330, which are the standard aircraft for chiefs of state who maintain their own planes. It is about security and productivity. Bear in mind that a delegation of 30 people normally accompanies the VIPs.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Tax Compliance Officer

Cape Town
Mass Staffing Projects
R280 000 - R300 000 Per Year

Mobile Developer

Cape Town
Goldman Tech Resourcing
R360 000 - R480 000 Per Year

Sales Representative

Cape Town
Pax Staffing Dynamix (Pty) Ltd
R8 000 - R25 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

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.