3 new VIP jets for top govt officials cost R2bn

A storm is brewing over the acquisition of 3 new VIP jets for President Jacob Zuma that will cost R2 billion.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma arrives in Brussels Belgium for the SA EU Summit meeting. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - A storm is brewing over the acquisition of three new VIP jets for President Jacob Zuma and other top government officials that will cost approximately R2 billion.

This comes after the South African National Defence Force last year said it would not be buying additional VVIP aircrafts.

Inkwazi, the presidential jet will be supplemented by three new VIP jets, including one used Boeing business jet and two new falcon 900 business jets.

The air force says South Africa's current fleet is not sufficient for VVIP transportation due to increased international trips.

The Democratic Alliance's David Maynier says it's shocking that in the same year Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announces revised spending plans to reduce costs such a decision can be made.

"Rather than increasing the supply of aircraft, we have to decrease the demand for aircraft and ensure Zuma and his cabinet's travel commitments are cut to a minimum."

Last week, the air force cancelled the backup helicopter previously provided to the president's family and friends travelling between Durban and Nkandla.

The City Press newspaper reported that family and friends have been hitching rides from the air force base in Durban.

The newspaper reported that the helicopter known as the 'Zuma Taxi' costs the presidency R63,000 an hour.

The presidency's Mac Maharaj denied the allegations saying no member of the family used the chopper unless accompanying the president.