Plan To Purchase The VVIP Jet Still On The Line – Defence Department


The office of the president indicates it would still push forward its plans to purchase the VVIP jet for President Jacob Zuma.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula confirmed this on Wednesday saying the matter is being considered by the department.

The Defence and Military Veterans Minister first announced the purchase of the presidential jet but rubbished claims that it would cost up to R4-billion.

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The veterans minister stressed that government would push forward its plans to buy the VVIP jet, but pointed out that it is not basically for President Jacob.

“There will be a president after Zuma. The VVIP jet is not being procured because there is President Zuma who will use it,” she told reporters ahead of her budget vote speech in Parliament.

The department went on to say the jet purchase was necessary because Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have on several occasions this year, been left stranded or were late for events due to breakdowns of the presidential Boeing 737, known as Inkwazi.
Maintaining its decision, the council of defence had decided that “the process for a full acquisition should succeed”, she told MPs in reply to questions in the National Assembly.

“We had to cancel the process because the bids we received did not meet the critical user requirements,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

“However, the SA National Defence Force inquiry for an additional long-range aircraft still remains.”

The defence force currently had four executive jets, two of which were “unserviceable”. They were just used to ferry “the principals” and also offered pilots the opportunity to get training.

The four were the president’s current jet, a Falcon 900 for the deputy president, and two “unserviceable” Falcon 50s.

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The president’s jet cost R84 000 per hour to operate, and the Falcon 900 and Falcon 50 R54 000 per hour.

On all these, Mapisa-Nqakula said what gave her sleepless nights was whether the aircraft would reach its destination, or something would happen along the way.

“Our major responsibility is to ensure the safety of our principal,” She said