Despite the agitations against buying a R4 billion new presidential jet, SA’s Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says her department will go ahead with the procurement.
Although the Minister refused to disclose the amount to be spent on the Jet, she stressed that the ministry wouldn’t compromise the security of the presidency.
“One thing we are not going to do is to compromise the security (and) safety of our principals,” Mapisa-Nqakula asserted.
“Buying the VVIP aircraft, we will. But not for Zuma. There will be a president after Zuma. The VVIP aircraft is not being procured because there is President Zuma who will use it. The aircraft will still be there” when Zuma is done leading, she added.
Pressured to confirm whether the presidential jet will truly cost R4 billion, Mapisa-Nqakula said; “we would never ever sit here and say we will spend R4bn on aircraft. Not when South Africans are starving and students are calling for fees to fall.”
“We are adults” she she said, “and as adults, we are responsible. A government which is sensitive. Obviously work has to be done, which will determine depending of course, on the responses which we receive. We would never ever sit here and say we will spend R4 billion on an aircraft,” she iterated.
According to Mapisa-Nqakula, the procurement of the new presidential jet is delayed as there are “certain things” the department have to consider from the feedback they received from companies on the procurement bid.
“So we could not meet our own deadline, which we had set for ourselves which was 31 March. What are the implications of that? The implications of that are that one, we are now preparing to lease an aircraft and we are going to lease an aircraft whilst we are in the process of procuring one for the VVIPs,” stated the Minister.
Reacting, DA leader called on the President to make a public announcement and reverse his government’s decision to purchase a new Presidential Jet.
“Given our current economic climate and our country’s record high unemployment crisis, South Africa cannot afford to spend R4 billion on a luxury jet for the President which he simply does not need. The Presidency should focus its financial mandate on the pressing issues facing all South Africans, not the luxury of our state head,” Maimane admonished.