Air force boss back at work

2011-11-28 12:17

Cape Town - SA Air Force chief Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano is back at work after Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu rejected his resignation.

Defence spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said on Monday that Gagiano was "very busy" in Pretoria taking stock of the helicopters and fixed wing aircraft that would be used to monitor upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"The general was ordered to remain at work, his letter of resignation was rejected," Mabaya said.

Gagiano resigned after taking responsibility for a mishap with a military aircraft that caused Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to miss a visit to Scandinavia.

"He was informed that the best way of taking responsibility was not to resign, but to remain and sort out the problem. He accepted that his resignation was rejected."

Admitted to hospital

Mabaya said Gagiano was co-ordinating the deployment of the air force in the DRC ahead of elections there.

"We have more than 10 helicopters in the DRC and a number of planes... The general is working with chief of joint operations to make sure the elections are successful."

Gagiano was admitted to hospital early in November with symptoms of stress.

He and Secretary of Defence Mpumi Mpofu resigned with immediate effect after a string of incidents in the beleaguered air force's transportation services.

Sisulu sent Gagiano flowers and wished him a speedy recovery after hearing of his admittance to hospital.

Air travel issues

However, she reportedly lost her patience when Mpofu failed to give satisfactory answers over the various debacles. Mpofu was replaced by chief financial officer Mziwonke Dlabantu.

Some of the incidents which have plagued the air force's reputation include one in which a VIP plane, chartered by it, developed technical problems as it was taking off from the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria last month. Motlanthe was on board the plane at the time.

In September, the plane the deputy president 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 flying back from Libya.

Then there were revelations that two pilots who flew President Jacob Zuma to the US earlier this year had been implicated in a failed 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup.

  • Shirley - 2011-11-28 12:32

    Planes might function properly if they spent more money on actual neccesities and less on lavish birthday celebrations and filling their "christmas stockings"!!!!!!!

      JohnnyBGood - 2011-11-28 13:22

      One of these days they will fly SAA --too scared to use the SAF's planes.

  • billy - 2011-11-28 12:47


  • Winsome - 2011-11-28 13:20

    I have to show my ignorance here - is this dude a pilot? I don't even know what he looks like and have no idea of his credentials and he is our Air Force Chief! Can anyone help?

      Jonathan - 2011-11-28 13:34

      Absolutely he is a pilot of long standing, and I believe a bloody good Chief of the Airforce.

      darren.olivier - 2011-11-28 13:53

      This information is really easy to find online. Lt. Gen Gagiano joined the SAAF in 1968. Over his long and varied career he has flown the Harvard, Pilatus PC 7, Vampire, F86 Sabre, Mirage III, F1CZ, as well as the Cheetah D and E aircraft. He saw combat experience flying Mirage F1CZs with 3 Squadron, first as a regular pilot and later as their Officer Commanding. He went on to command both 89 Combat Flying School and the Central Flying School, before being promoted into staff positions, moving from Inspector General of the Air Force to Chief Director Operations Development then Chief Director Air Policy and Plans before becoming Chief of the Air Force. It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to find an available replacement with that level of experience.

      gerhard.nel - 2011-11-28 13:53

      Carlo Gagiano joined the SA Air Force in 1968 and qualified as a pilot on the in December 1969 flew the Harvard, Pilatus PC 7, Vampire, F86 Sabre, Mirage III, F1CZ, as well as the Cheetah D and E aircraft. During 1985 he completed the South African Air Force's Senior Command and Staff Course and was subsequently appointed as the Officer Commanding 3 Squadron, operating F1CZ aircraft. In 1989 he was appointed as the Officer Commanding 89 Combat Flying School with Cheetah D aircraft. He occupied the post of military attaché in Israel from 1991 to his return to South Africa in January 1994. He completed the South African National Defence Force's Joint Staff Course in November 1994 and was then transferred to Central Flying School Langebaanweg as the Officer Commanding. After a four-year tour at Langebaanweg, he was transferred to the Air Force Office in December 1998, promoted to Brigadier General and appointed as Inspector General of the Air Force. On 1 November 2000 he was promoted to Major General and appointed as Chief Director Operations Development at the Joint Operations Division, responsible for defence capabilities, joint force employment strategy, joint command and control and joint doctrine. Lieutenant General Gagiano was appointed as Chief of the Air Force with effect of 1 March 2005.

      gerhard.nel - 2011-11-28 13:53

      Guy - 2011-11-28 14:57

      Here is someone that was employed based on his experience and capabilities, rather than his culture and connections.

  • Jonathan - 2011-11-28 13:33

    Glad to hear that you are okay, General. Well done and keep up your good work. You are a credit to the SAAF!

  • Derk - 2011-11-28 13:37

    taking stock of helicopters,I hope he can count till 10

  • FerretGee - 2011-11-28 13:44

    Seems my comment was either deleted or removed, but as I said, well done to Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano for aaccoeting his mistake and resigning. It's a pity more of our politicians don't take a leaf out of his book and do the same instead of making excuses for their poor service delivery and then refusing to accept responsibility for their actions.

  • George - 2011-11-28 13:44

    We are going to monitor upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We cant even do this in SA Another waste of our our money on another corupt country by another corupt country. The corupt looking after the corupt makes you wonder.

  • Maai - 2011-11-28 15:18

    He has ben in the SAAF since the 1960's. No wonder he is suffering from stress, it must be very stressfull watching a once great military (SADF) degenerate into the circus it now is (SANDF).

  • Winsome - 2011-11-28 19:37

    Thank you to those who so kindly supplied his credentials - I wasn't being facetious or sarcastic at all - it was a genuine query. It seems he is the ideal man for the job then from all accounts and I wish him well.

  • pages:
  • 1