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Jet deposit to be refunded

The R82m deposit paid for the presidential jet will be refunded to South Africa.

The defence minister said on Friday the procurement process of a new jet was cancelled

JOHANNESBURG - The cancellation of plans to buy a R2 billion jet for President Jacob Zuma will have no financial implications for the government, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Friday.

Earlier, Mapisa-Nqakula announced that the procurement process was cancelled, a move which comes after a public outcry at the proposed deal with Boeing.

The minister said the deal for the 300-seater Boeing 777 lapsed on 15 June.

She met with the company to inform them the procurement process has been cancelled.

"Currently there is no deal to buy a Boeing."

The minister said the deposit that was paid, about R82-million, would be refunded.

"The deposit that was paid was US$10 million."

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will now investigate the matter.

Meanwhile, the Defence Department's legal team will look at whether a new process could be started.

Earlier this week, former Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu issued a statement, saying she had advised against the purchase of the plane.

The issue of transporting VVIPs has long haunted defence ministers with scandals of gravy planes, faulty chartered aircrafts and questions around the Air Force's capabilities.

The decision to cancel the procurement deal was Mapisa-Nqakula's first major decision since taking over the defence ministry less than a month ago.

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