Crony alert: Ramaphosa flies “Gupta Air” to Japan, costs taxpayers millions

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo August 24, 2015.  REUTERS/Toshifumi Kitamura/Pool
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) shakes hands with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Toshifumi Kitamura/Pool

From RDM Newswire:

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and a delegation flew to Japan in a Gupta family jet at a cost of millions of rands‚ Business Day reports this morning.

Besides the cost‚ questions are being raised as to why a jet owned by a company of which President Jacob Zuma’s son‚ Duduzane‚ is a director was used to transport VIPs.

On Wednesday‚ the Department of Defence‚ which hired the plane‚ could not say how much the flight cost. Spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini said this would be disclosed only next year in the department’s annual budget.

“The South African Air Force leases when an aircraft is unsuitable for the trip to be undertaken or when the aircraft is due for service or is in service. Such leasing is done through a central contract managed by the government through the national Treasury‚ RTC-61 Contract‚” he said.

It is believed the presidential plane will soon be heading to China‚ and that there are not enough pilots. – RDM Newswire

 

Comments on Gupta Air

DA ridicules Govt claim “no idea Guptas owned plane”

“The Democratic Alliance (DA) will investigate reports in the media today that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ accompanied by ministers and deputy ministers‚ made use of a leased private plane that belongs to the Gupta family‚ for his trip to Japan last weekend‚” DA MP Kobus Marais said on Wednesday.

The official opposition said that with the Gupta family’s “close links to high-ranking African National Congress members‚ including President Jacob Zuma‚ this use of public money deserves urgent investigation”.

“This is especially the case given the Guptagate scandal last year – where the Gupta family landed at the Waterkloof Airforce base – with the reported permission of ‘Number One’‚” said Marais.

“According to reports‚ Bombardier Aerospace was hired by the Department of Defence‚ through a government-managed contract with service provider ExecuJet‚ which then provided the Gupta-owned private jet for the trip.

“The plane left the Waterkloof Air Force Base last Friday night‚ under the call sign ‘South Africa 2’‚ which is reserved for the deputy president.’

The DA said it would submit Parliamentary questions to the Minister of Defence‚ Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula‚ to establish exactly why the deputy president had to make use of a private charter plane when he had a state allocated one; and why he and the delegation had not made use of South African Airways‚ which flies to two destinations in Japan every week.

The party would also ask whether ExecuJet‚ an approved supplier‚ had adhered to its contractual obligations in regards to the leasing of the plane; and what the total cost of these flights was‚ considering it would‚ “more than likely be billed to ordinary taxpayers”.

Marais said the Department of Defence “claims they had no idea the plane belonged to the Guptas‚ saying that the leasing of planes – when the government planes are not available – is done through a central contract managed by the government through National Treasury”.  – RDM News Wire.

EFF demands clarity

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Wednesday evening asked for clarity regarding the alleged use by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa of a Bombardier Aerospace jet‚ “owned by the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma”.

The deputy president‚ accompanied by ministers and deputy ministers‚ was reported to have made use of the leased private plane for his trip to Japan last weekend.

“It has come to our attention that the Department of Defence‚ which is responsible for providing transport to both the president and deputy president‚ hired the Gupta jet through a state-managed contract with service provider ExecuJet.”

In a statement‚ the EFF said the jet “is owned by Westdawn Investments‚ of which Duduzane Zuma is a co-owner.”

“As the EFF‚ we have as a matter of urgency written a question for written reply to both the minister of defence and the minister of finance‚ seeking clarity on whether proper procurement processes were followed in granting the contract to a company owned by the friends of the president and his son‚” EFF acting national spokesperson Lehlohonolo Fana Mokoena said.

“We call on state institutions guarding our democracy to investigate as a matter of urgency the hold that the Gupta family has over president Zuma‚ which allows them to treat our country and its coffers the way they do.” – RDM News Wire.