The president is once again showing off his mastery of political optics as he has been sighted on low-cost air carrier Flysafair this morning. The president flew on the 07:10 flight from Johannesburg to East London this morning on flight FA248.
Flying, low-cost with the ordinary people of South Africa certainly would seem to be sending a very symbolic message that the era of state-sponsored luxury while millions of people struggle to eak out a meagre existence is coming to an end.
This is not the first time that the president has been seen using low-cost carriers to get around the country.WATCH: Everybody wants to sit next to President Ramaphosa on a plane
At the end of April, President Cyril Ramaphosa was spotted travelling to Durban in economy class on a Flysafair flight. The president presented himself then as an approachable, relatable figure and humoured his fellow passengers who took selfies and photos which, of course, eventually made their way to social media.
At that time, Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko told News24 that the president will at all times use the mode of transport which is most practical, convenient and cost effective for his duties.
The low-cost travel comes at a time when news broke that taxpayers are shelling out a fortune for the air travel of the president and his deputy. Rapport reported that the return flight between Cape Town and Johannesburg cost the airforce an astounding R1.5 million due, in no small way, to the use of a commercial airliner that could have transported 316 passengers, but was used to transport the presidential entourage estimated to be between 20 to 30 people.
Rapport claimed to have seen invoices from SAA that show that the use of SAA aircraft has cost the airforce R50 million in four months. That being said, the president has indicated that he would only fly SAA or on an air force plane where leasing becomes necessary - specifically when there are no commercial flights for Ramaphosa to take.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko has said President Ramaphosa tries to use the least expensive available air travel as a matter of principle. Where commercial flights are not available on a specific route, it is the responsibility of the air force to find an alternative.