Sandu slams govt over possibility of new jet for Zuma

Sandu says the move shows poor prioritization on the part of government and will add strain to the budget.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Defence Union (Sandu) says the possibility of a new VIP jet being purchased for President Jacob Zuma shows poor prioritization on the part of government and will add further strain to an already overstretched defence budget.

On Thursday Armscor announced its intention to acquire the plane requesting information on possible suppliers for the jet which could cost up to R4 billion.

Armco has set a deadline for 20 November for information on possible suppliers before the acquisition's board meets in December.

Sandu says it's very likely that the money will be taken from the national defence budget.

The union says the money would be better used to improve operational planes that carry troops to deployment areas, equipment and better pay.

Sandu's Pikkie Greef says the defence force simply cannot afford this expense.

"It's not a priority at this stage and the reason government wants that particular jet is because of the range it has. There is no reason why President Zuma cannot travel the way President Mandela used to travel which is with stop overs and refuelling."

The president's current jet, Inkwazi, is not able to carry more than 15 people and with the new purchase at least 30 passengers will be able to travel with the president.

There has been an outcry over the outsourcing of planes with questions over why the military is not supplying aircrafts.