Can we afford the ongoing chartering of planes for the president and deputy president ?

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Tshepo Kgadima

JOHANNESBURG- South African Air Force continues to charter similar aircrafts as this one of Zunaid Moti on a regular basis, clocking up between 500 and 550 flight hours per year at an exorbitant cost of US$20,000 per hour.

Sound-minded and level-headed South Africans should be asking the fundamental question of Why does our Air Force not have its own fleet of aircraft and crew that can readily be deployed when needed???

On 05th April 2015, I read with shock and dismay, a story online about the South African Air Force’s plans to purchase a used Boeing Business Jet (“BBJ”) and 2x Falcon 900 at a cost of R2 billion.

If indeed true, such a plan completely ignored the expert report and recommendations by Retired Major General Tsoku Khumalo, tabled in Parliament approximately in 2011, for the purchase of 6x Global Express aircraft.

The proposed Falcon 900 aircraft has a 7,400 km range, way short of what is required for many of missions undertaken by our VVIPs.

Purchasing this type of aircraft would unfortunately only result in continued costly chartering of aircraft as is currently happening.

Global Express is the model of an aircraft manufactured by Bombardier of Canada. It’s one of the two suitable aircrafts as VVIP jets for South Africa.

The other aircraft maker is Gulfstream of the U.S. In 2011, retired Major-General Tsoku Khumalo tabled a comprehensive plan to acquire 6 Global Express aircrafts at a budget of R2 billion. The plan was aborted for reasons which are still not clear. The 6 aircrafts were then taken up by NetJets of Warren Buffett. At that time, Major-General Tsoku Khumalo advised against buying Gulfstream aircrafts due to geopolitical & geostrategic risks with the U.S.

Tshepo Kgadima
Independent Political and Economic Analyst