“Minister must explain whether President knew about jet” - Maimane


Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has said the party would be submitting an application to have Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, explain to Parliament whether President Jacob Zuma had any knowledge about Armscor’s proposed plans to purchase a brand new VIP jet worth an estimated R4-billion.

Maimane’s comments comes after Armscor CEO, Kevin Wakeford, yesterday denounced speculation that the defence force’s procurement agency had committed itself to buying the plane, saying the listing of specifications details on Armscor’s website, was simply a way of seeking information if it decides to sign on the dotted line.

“I don’t know where the R4-billion comes from, because quite frankly we cannot afford it. We are looking at a whole variety of options. The affordability will determine the selection of the eventual solution and financing options,” Wakeford told the media at a press briefing in Pretoria.

Speaking in a statement, Maimane stated that no justifiable reason exists for the department to even consider the purchase, describing it as “irrational and irresponsible”.

“[President Zuma] cannot simply wash his hands of the matter and claim ignorance. It is inconceivable that the Minister would seek to procure such a big ticket item for the President without his knowledge and approval,” Maimane said.

“The South African fiscus is already under immense strain and a number of departments, including Higher Education, remain grossly underfunded. President Zuma’s ANC must get their priorities right and put South Africa first. We cannot allow the President to live a life of luxury while millions are without jobs and basic services”.