Ramaphosa drives back to Joburg after plane experiences faults

2016-04-03 20:25
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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White River - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had to be driven back to Johannesburg on Sunday after the plane he was travelling in experienced technical faults shortly after taking off from White River, Mpumalanga, causing him to return to the airport, the presidency said.

"Shortly after taking off from Kruger National Park Airport for Air Force Base Waterkloof this afternoon... the aircraft developed technical faults mid-air forcing the pilot to return the aircraft safely to the airport," spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said.

"As a consequence, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was driven back safely to his Johannesburg home by his South African Police Service security detail."

Ramaphosa had visited the province to be installed as the Mpumalanga University's first Chancellor on Saturday as well as to address an ANC-led provincial alliance summit on Sunday.

The cause of the technical faults were unclear.

It is not the first time that Ramaphosa has experienced the grounding of a plane due to technical difficulties.

Last month, Ramaphosa cancelled his trip to Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, due to technical problems experienced by his plane.

Mamoepa said at the time that the South African Air Force aircraft (SAAF) in which Ramaphosa was scheduled to fly in, had developed technical difficulties, necessitating the cancellation of the visit.

In January, Ramaphosa also missed an ANC Gala dinner in Sun City, North West, for similar reasons.

Ramaphosa had been in Juba, South Sudan in his capacity as a special envoy of President Jacob Zuma at the time.

He was supposed to arrive back in the country in time for the dinner, however, his South African Air Force plane developed technical difficulties and he had to return back home commercially, the presidency said at the time.

He landed back around 01:30 in South Africa during which time the gala dinner had ended.

In February Zuma himself was stuck in Burundi after a government-owned presidential jet experienced problems as well. This was not the first time either that Inkwazi had been grounded due to mechanical difficulties.

Last year, Zuma faced intense criticism following reports that R4 billion would be spent on acquiring a new plane for him and his entourage.

It was reported that the luxury jet would also have a conference room, bathroom and private bedroom, and would accommodate 30 passengers.

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