SA to spend R2bn on three new jets for Zuma, officials

By Amogelang Mbatha

(Bloomberg) — South Africa plans to spend 2 billion rand ($170 million) on at least three new jets for President Jacob Zuma and other top government officials, Johannesburg-based City Press newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma participates in a panel discussion on the future of Africa during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington August 5, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma participates in a panel discussion on the future of Africa during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington August 5, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The current presidential jet, known as Inkwazi, has been experiencing technical problems, the newspaper said, citing Brigadier-General Marthie Visser, a spokeswoman for the nation’s air force. The government is considering buying a second-hand Boeing Business Jet for 600 million rand and two Falcon 900 aircraft before the end of this year, City Press said.

South Africa’s international obligations had increased, and on several occasions in the past few years, the government had been forced to hire aircraft, the newspaper cited Visser as saying. Zuma has undertaken 37 international visits and 40 local trips since April 2013, while Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has been on 25 international excursions and 21 local trips over the past eight months, it said.

The aircraft may be funded by moving money into the Department of Defense’s plan to cover strategic purchases, which is meant for equipment needed for troops, City Press said.