South Africa is a great land of possibilities. Anything can happen and everything is possible. I mean, who would have thought that it’s possible to take a nation’s Air force planes and keep them for yourself in your museum while the country strives to live up to its Air Force responsibilities because of limited aircraft.
The Defense Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was responding to why South African Air Force (SAAF) pilots are being sent to Russia and Cuba to train when she stated that some of the South African Air Force’s planes were stolen and kept in museums.
According to Mapisa-Nqakula, that’s the reason our Air Force pilots are being sent abroad to train as there are limited planes for the pilots to be home-trained.
“We have a problem, sometimes these young people train and they run short of flying hours before they can get their wings. We can’t give them those flying hours because there are no aircraft,” the Defense Minister said.
She explained that the reason for the limited aircraft is because some of them were stolen and kept in museums. “I tell you that some of the aircraft were taken by some of the people who left the Air Force and they belong to them in their museums,” she said.
And buttressed that “it started ages ago and some of the people stole some of the assets of the people and left with them. So when you talk about shortages, it has to do with the fact that some of the assets were stolen.”
Mapisa-Nqakula further indicated that the problem is quite complex as the government cannot buy planes. To her, if the government buys them, people will scream about it.
“So you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t,” she intoned.
Commenting, EFF National Council of Provinces (NCOP) member, Leigh-Ann Mathys told the Minister that she’ll have to get back the planes and that the EFF will help in the task.
“We must bring our stolen stuff back. If people stole our equipment we must go and get it back. Just like our land,” Mathys remarked.