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Zuma ditches presidential plane for a rental that costs R2 million a month

Zuma ditches presidential plane for a rental that costs R2 million a month

South African taxpayers have been forking out R2 million a month for president Jacob Zuma to hire a private jet – while presidential plane Inkwazi remains serviceable and unused, the DA said.

The party said it was revealed on Sunday that the South African Air Force is paying almost R2 million a month for the lease of  a jet from Fortune Air, and for a plane that is almost a decade older than Zuma’s Inkwazi jet.

“The DA position on this has been clear from the very beginning: there is no need for a new jet – either leased or purchased – while the current Presidential Jet, Inkwazi, remains, in terms of aircraft standards, relatively new,” the DA said.

Inkwazi has suffered a number of technical issues in the past year, which the presidency has described as “embarrassing”, including breaking down in Qatar, and leaving the president stranded in Burundi.

And despite protest from opposition parties, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula stated in May that the government will buy a new VVIP jet for the presidency.

Read: Expert points out why Zuma doesn’t need a new Jet

While no budget has been allocated or a price tag presented, experts have said that the only planes that suit the presidency’s requirements cost a fortune.

It has been reported that requirements include being able to carry at least 30 passengers, while the plane must have a range of 13,800km.

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula rubbished claims that the new plane would cost up to R4 billion, as has been quoted in the media.

She said the department had never mentioned the cost of the aircraft, and she did not know where the R4 billion figure had come from.

However, in a recent interview on Talk 702, Darren Olivier, senior correspondent at African Defence Review affirmed that the cost to replace the current jet was about R4 billion, while the cost of a second hand plane is approximately R2 billion.

Olivier said that the president’s plane is only 15 years old, and is currently flying far less than equivalent jets in the commercial airline market.

“It’s really foolish in my view; there’s no need to replace Inkwazi”. The plane is a Boeing 737 (BBJ) aircraft, Olivier said, adding that the plane was bought brand new.

“It’s only ever been used for VIP flying.”

Olivier stressed that there has never been a safety issue with the current jet – despite reports to the contrary.

More on president Zuma

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New R4-billion jet for Zuma: report

BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
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  • Skerminkel

    R2m sounds like a bargain. Sell Inkwazi!

  • AgentMulders

    So you mean they could rent a plane for 83 years for the same amount of money as what they would have to spend on a second-hand jet? That’s a no brainer, sell Inkwazi and rent

    • Andrew Newman

      Or perhaps the DA have their facts wrong and haven’t a clue what they are talking about.
      Where did they get the figure of R2 million? They don’t say.

      • You +Me =Us…. $$$….or not?

        It’s irrelevant if the only reason Inkwazi is down is due to shoddy maintenance that doesn’t correspond with identical aircraft performance standards.

  • Mpho

    Economics and zuma…

  • Zaheer

    The plane belongs to the state to be used by the President.of the country.
    The only way to sort this out – is for the president to invite the leaders of the other parties and the people who build the plane to all sit in a room and design the budget and layout of the plane.
    It may cost approx 2 billion to build a plane for the President of the state.
    The reality is – the tax payer who goes home with 6k a month may not be able to comprehend spending 2 million. However – the amount is relative to the asset.
    The new development at umhlanga -1 hotel called Oceans Umlanga will cost 3.3 billion – thats 1 new hotel in Umhlanga.
    Think how big SA is – thing how many hotels it has – google how much it cost to charter a ship to India.

    You will realise for SA to build a plan for 2 billion for its President – be it Pik Botha , Zuma or had it been for Nelson Mandela – its an asset that needs to be build.
    How can you fly to Qatar and ask for an investment with a plane that has issues for the leader of that country ?

    • Bernard Rother

      I don’t think the price is too much of an issue under normal circumstances but when you spend billions to fly useless meat around the globe THEN it starts to niggle people.

      • Annon

        I agree with you there Bernard, especially since the only reason that Inkwazi is grounded is due to neglect! It’s their own damn fault, why not spend a fraction of the money fixing the plane they have and maybe customising it a bit, giving it a bit of a facelift, not that the self indulgent W*nker deserves it, but you get my point. there is absolutely no reason that could justify him wasting yet another fortune on an unnecessary luxury, on our dime, it’s absolute madness!

  • James Dean

    Why not just pay per trip? These idiots treat millions like they’re pennies.

  • My_opinion247

    What’s the bet Fortune Air has Gupta/Zuma/Zuma BFF shareholders?

    • James Dean

      Fortune Air, controlled by arms manufacturer Ivor Ichikowitz, or ExecuJet, the company that brokered the deal that saw Ramaphosa use the plane owned by the politically connected Guptas.

      • My_opinion247

        My crystal ball is pretty good hey?

  • Joe Black

    Well, like him or not, and I really don’t… I also don’t expect the president of the country to fly in a jet with technical issues. That would be unacceptable regardless of who the president is.

    The rental sounds better to me. A new jet of the type they were interested in does cost well over R3bn out of the box I believe. I assume the rest (taking it somewhere near R4bn) would have been customisation. But @ R2mil a month for a rental you could go for 2000 months at the same cost as the new jet.

    Seems alright to me. Planes do not fly for free.

    • Bernard Rother

      It’s obvious why we all want him to fly in Inkwazi 🙂

    • Teresa Williams

      There IS no safety issue with the presidential jet – this is a ploy to “justify” buying a new one.

      • Joe Black

        I guess it boils down to trust then – Which we all know to well is lacking.

  • Andrew Newman

    I assume $2 million per month is just the standby tariff.
    There is another per flight hour tariff that is much more expensive.


    Inkwazi – it all makes sense now

  • Gareth David

    BBJ? Built Before Jacob?

    • Best Before Jacob

  • Schrodinger’s Cat

    Let it walk

  • Bernard Rother

    How does one find out the registration of this 727 (Super 27) ? Inkwazi is ZS-RSA

  • Robert Dixon

    When SA is saddled with SAA there is no excuse for zupta to fly anything else.

  • Greg Gow

    This guy is a proper dumb d@@s

  • Teresa Williams

    Why don’t these idiot leaders just use Skype?

  • Reject

    Very few countries have presidential jets. Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France all use the National Airline. A lot cheaper to book out the business class section and they fly up front, no capital cost, insurance etc. Zuma must reign in his ego to something his country can afford.

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