Sisulu wants jet purchase delayed

Lindiwe Sisulu suggested the purchase be suspended so that the new minister could review the deal.

The current presidential jet is constantly undergoing maintenance.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu advised on Monday that the purchase of a new presidential jet be suspended.

In a statement, she suggested to the Defence Secretary that the purchase must be suspended so that new minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa Ncqakula, could review the deal.

The Defence Ministry is yet to confirm whether or not the deal has been shelved or not.

It was reported that the defence secretary was in the United States to finalise the purchase of a 300-seater Boeing 777 for Jacob Zuma.

The cost of the entire deal would amount to over R2 billion.

Sisulu said she would welcome an investigation into the deal by the Public Protector as suggested by the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Questions were raised on Friday whether a tender process was followed and whether cabinet has agreed to the deal.

Shadow Defence Minister David Maynier said, "I think it is simply wrong to spend R2 billion on a jet for President Jacob Zuma when so many people in our country are so poor."

He said tens of thousands of RDP houses could be built instead.

The 300-seater Boeing 7777-200LR is estimated to cost $80m to reconfigure to the president's specifications on top of a $150m purchase price.