Zuma flew to Cuba in a chartered plane while presidential jet was 'fully functional'
President Jacob Zuma used a chartered aircraft to attend the memorial service of Fidel Castro in Cuba while his presidential jet appeared to be “fully functional”. Democratic Alliance MP Kobus Marais said on Thursday that despite Inkwazi‚ the presidential jet‚ being “fully functional‚ as its recent flights prove‚ the President continues to charter other jets using publics funds.” Marais said that records showed at least six flights were undertaken by Inkwazi in November.“On Tuesday morning‚ the President flew to Cuba for Fidel Castro’s memorial service in a luxurious Gulfstream 550 that was reportedly chartered from an Angolan Company‚ Bestfly. This is the same company that flew Zuma to China to attend the G20 in September‚” he said in a statement.“The crew on the plane must be cleared by SANDF Intelligence‚ and the crew should preferably be South African citizens.“The chartering of the plane from Bestfly is not only in contravention of clear government directives‚ it is also costing taxpayers millions. In similar circumstances‚ Zuma’s chartered trip to New York in September 2014 was estimated to cost at least R6 million‚” he said.Plans for new presidential jet put into holding pattern after tender cancelledThe acquisition of new aircraft to transport South Africa’s VVIPs‚ including president Jacob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa‚ will be delayed as Armscor has cancelled the tender for the lease of the intercontinental aircraft. Marais said according to National Treasury contract specifications‚ private aircraft were supposed to only be chartered from companies who have been authorised to provide services to government until March 2017.“We know from media reports that the President used Inkwazi for a state visit to Zimbabwe in the beginning of the month and flight records show a return flight from Waterkloof to East London on 24 November‚ and a return flight from Waterkloof to Langebaan‚” on Wednesday‚ he said.