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DA wants answers over report of R1.3bn jet for Zuma

A media report alludes to several high-level meetings between defence force and military officials under the code named 'Project Moeketsi'.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will send parliamentary questions to the Defence Department to provide documents and an explanation as to why plans are underway for the purchase of a new presidential private jet.

This follows a Sunday Times report that there have been several high-level meetings between defence force and military officials under the code named “Project Moeketsi”.

The paper also claims that the process of acquisition is not likely to be an open tender because a specific supplier has already been earmarked.

The new aircraft will apparently have 18 seats and be fitted with secure locks to keep classified documents and foreign currency and will be used for shorter trips within the southern Africa region.

The president's plane Inkwazi has previously experienced technical problems and was grounded several times last year.

LISTEN: How safe is President Jacob Zuma’s private jet?

The party's Kobus Marais says: “We haven’t been in touch with the Defence Department following this latest rumour, but we have looked at the budget and there’s only provision for the special accounts. It doesn’t say anything about buying an aircraft.”

Questions posed to the department were referred to Armscor, which is the procurement arm of the department.

Marais says they want the department to confirm whether it intends to buy a new jet.

“We have a fleet of his VVIP flights in 21 Squadron, which includes smaller jets. We know the president is using some of them to fly down to Nkandla. We are absolutely astonished to read and receive a report about this plan.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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