The Democratic Alliance says it will submit Parliamentary questions to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Ngqakula to get clarity on the reported intended acquisition of a new luxury 18-seater passenger jet for regional flights for President Jacob Zuma.
Media reports on Sunday detailed a meeting between South African Air Force Brigadier-General Mzayifani Innocent Buthelezi‚ a director of air transport‚ and air force chief Lieutenant-General Fabian Msimang to discuss spending R1.3 billion on a new regional jet.
According to reports the jet must have an executive lounge‚ to hold eight passengers at a minimum and must be fitted with business-class-style seating that reclines as well as audio and video entertainment capabilities.
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Commenting o n the report‚ DA spokesman on defence matters Kobus Marais said the minister “must confirm the intention to acquire a short-haul jet‚ whether the said meeting between members of the top brass took place and must release any and all relevant documentation relating to this lavish purchase as well as a detailed justification for the purchase”.
Marais said Zuma seemed to prioritise his tendency for luxury travel over the needs of South Africans.
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“In fact‚ the DA have been reliably informed that the Presidential jet Inkwazi has flown at least 8 times since the beginning of February this year and is clearly fully functional. There is‚ therefore‚ no need to buy another plane‚” Marais asserted.
He said the DA was vehemently opposed to spending billions on a luxury jet while millions of young people in South had been abandoned by the ANC to a lifetime of joblessness by poor quality basic education and lack of skills development.
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“The billions for the new luxury jet should be spent on providing our people with the skills they need to find employment. Improving the lives of South Africans should be the priority not one mans’ unjustifiable need for luxury.”