SANDF confirms chartering jet for Zuma

The defence ministry says the presidential aircraft is undergoing a scheduled service.

President Jacob Zuma is welcomed to New York, USA by SA Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool on 21 September 2014. Picture: GCIS.

PRETORIA - The South African National Defence Force has confirmed that it chartered a jet for President Jacob Zuma because the government aircraft is on a scheduled service.

Eyewitness News revealed this morning that Zuma had arrived in New York on a private jet, the same one controversially leased three years ago for more than R6 million.

The Boeing 727-200 is operated by Fortune Air, which is owned by African National Congress-funder Ivor Ichikowitz.

The Ministry of Defence says the presidential aircraft is currently unavailable because it is undergoing a scheduled service. It did not however state how long this would take.

Plane-spotters in New York identified the Boeing 727-200 transporting the president as being leased by the government.

The ministry says chartering aircraft is an option when the presidential jet is unavailable and has been approved by as part of a contract authorised by Treasury.

There was however no explanation as to the exact costs involved on this trip.

Zuma is in New York to attend the 69th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York taking place from 24-30 September.