Storm brews over Zuma's new jets

There are plans to buy three brand new jets for Zuma & his Cabinet at a cost of R2 billion to the taxpayer.

FILE. The SANDF has defended a decision to buy President Zuma three new jets which include two new Falcon business jets. Picture: Wikimedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG - There's widespread criticism over plans to buy three new jets for President Jacob Zuma at a cost of R2 billion to the taxpayer.

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

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has defended its decision despite the jets not being included in this year's budget and it saying last year that it would not be buying additional VVIP aircrafts.

It says the current fleet is not sufficient for Cabinet transportation due to South Africa's increased international commitments.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Democratic Alliance (DA) and South African National Defence Union (Sandu) have weighed in on the latest announcement, saying the president is only wasting the taxpayer's money.

The defence union's Pikkie Greeff says the money that will now go to buy new jets was allocated to be spent on equipment for troops deployed in Africa.

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with the presidential jet at this stage and more than one aircraft is not needed, even if a new one is needed."

Sandu has also joined opposition parties' calls for Zuma to review this move and consider Cabinet members make use of commercial airlines instead.

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.