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Jacob Zuma ‘to buy presidential jet despite South Africa’s poverty’‏

02 Jul

Jacob Zuma is in talks to buy a £165m presidential jet, it was reported, just   days after the South African president warned of growing frustration among   the country’s poorest over the government’s failure to improve their

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma: Jacob Zuma 'to buy presidential jet despite South Africa's poverty'

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma

The customised Boeing 777 plane seats 300 people and would cost $150m to buy   and an additional $80m to be adapted to Mr Zuma’s specifications.

The Department of Defence, which oversees VIP transport, is reportedly   considering spending an additional $28m on a second private plane for   Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy president.
Defence Secretary Sam Makhudu Guluybe was on Friday visiting the United States   to finalise the sale with Boeing, according to the Johannesburg Star   newspaper.
The newspaper said it had documents which showed the defence department had   negotiated a significant reduction on the jet’s original price of $305m   after a deal between Boeing and another buyer fell through.
The current presidential jet, known as Inkwazi which means “fish eagle”   in Mr Zuma’s mother tongue Zulu, was out of service for much of last year   for upgrades and maintenance.
The government is also facing a multi-million dollar legal bill after   cancelling a five-year lease for another plane from Nigeria. Defence officials have refused to comment on the reported deal, or explain why   new planes might be needed for the president and his deputy.
 Opposition politicians have lambasted the apparent move, revealed at a time   when the ANC is holding a five-year policy conference to discuss how to   alleviate poverty in South Africa, which sees about 40 per cent of the   population live on less than $49 (£31) a month.
David Maynier, the defence and military veterans spokesman for the opposition   Democratic Alliance party, questioned why Mr Zuma could not use the state   airline, into which the Treasury has also pumped billions of rands. “If British Prime Minister David Cameron can use British Airways to fly,   then Zuma can fly South African Airways,” he said.
“It is simply wrong to spend R2 billion on a presidential jet when so   many people in the country are poor. I believe a presidential jet should   only be used in exceptional circumstances.”

 

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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Business News

 

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