Hawks raising funds for R100m helicopter

Berning Ntlemeza’s told a parliamentary committee that officers are struggling without air support.

YouTube screengrab of head of the Hawks Major General Berning Ntlemeza.

CAPE TOWN - Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza says it is trying to raise funding for a R100 million helicopter.

Briefing Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police, Ntlemeza told Members of Parliament (MPs) that officers are struggling without the help of air support.

At least two MPs raised concern over the price tag.

Ntlemeza pleaded with MPs to support their bid to acquire a helicopter, because he says it would go a long way in assisting Hawks detectives in their operations.

"There is a need for this helicopter, no matter if it's being bought or leased. We will appreciate it, for the benefit dealing with these sensitive operations."

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Zakhele Mbhele, however, asked for more clarity on the price tag.

"Is that figure more of an exchange rate issue; so if you are procuring from an international arms company and their pricing in dollars, I understand how that can seem like a big figure on our side."

Hawks officials then explained they'd been guided by aviation industry experts, inflation and the recent purchase of an R80-million helicopter by the South African Police Service.