The leader of the Democratic Alliance Mmusi Maimane has lashed out on President Zuma for wasting money on luxury items amid South Africa’s economic and jobs crisis.
He said Zuma’s scandalous dealings makes the country lose its respect in the eyes of the world
Maimane who was speaking at an unveiling of the party’s ‘Jobs Not Jets’ billboard in the Johannesburg CBD on Thursday, condemned government’s frivolous spending especially on Zuma’s Nkandla homestead which according to him is just a picnic compared to what the government is planning to spend on Zuma’s luxurious new jet.
“This jet, ‘Nkandla Air’, is going to cost in the region of R4 billion – equivalent to 16 Nkandlas,” Maimane stated.
Though Maimane welcomed the decision by National Treasury that Zuma pay back R7.8 million for the upgrade of his private home in Nkandla, he lamented that the bill only amounted to 3% of the total of R246 million it cost tax payers.
“South Africa has lost a lot of respect in the eyes of the world,” he said.
“You can’t put an exact price-tag on that, but it is a huge cost nonetheless. And we’ve had to cover the enormous cost of Zuma’s legal fees while he tried to dodge and delay his way out of facing the consequences.”
Maimane went on to challenge government’s decision to purchase a jet for the presidency saying such money could be used to better the lives of the unemployed youths
“The simple fact of the matter is, we cannot afford a new jet,” he said, highlighting that the economy has stalled while as many as 8.9 million South Africans are unemployed – 5.9 million under the age of 35.
“To even consider spending R4 billion on a jet is an insult to every one of those 8.9 million unemployed South Africans. And it is evidence that our leaders are completely out of touch with reality.”
The DA said Zuma’s R4 billion could be used to:
- Pay for over 160,000 one-year internships for young South Africans;
- Pay for over 600,000 EPWP 3-month work opportunities for jobless South Africans;
- Support 80,000 new entrepreneurs with a R50,000 startup grant each;
- Fund 53,000 full NFSAS bursaries to cover fees, accommodation, transport and textbooks for young South Africans.
Government insisted on purchasing a new VVIP jet for the presidency on the basis that the presidential Boeing 737, known as Inkwazi has on several occasions, left Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa stranded or even late for important events.
Though it did not say how much the new jet would cost, it denied claims that the jet would cost up to R4 billion.
However, Maimane stressed that the Inkwazi is only halfway through its life span, “so it could last another 12 or 15 years at least”.
“When the family Toyota starts giving problems and one parent is unemployed, you don’t say: ‘Time to buy a new Range Rover’. Or ‘Time to rent a new Range Rover’. You say: ‘Time to fix the family Toyota’. Or maybe even ‘Time to start using public transport’, Maimane said as he called on the government to pay more attention on issues affecting the people and to draining the country’s respect.