Airforce instructor 'used SAAF plane as family taxi'

05 July 2015 - 02:00 By MZILIKAZI WA AFRIKA, STEPHAN HOFSTATTER and PIET RAMPEDI


The South African Air Force might clip the wings of one of its senior flying instructors after he was caught using an aircraft as a "family taxi". The Sunday Times has seen documents that show that Lieutenant-Colonel Albert van de Vyver flew his two kids on a PC XII from Waterkloof air force base in Pretoria to Ysterplaat air force base in Cape Town on June 25, 2015. The kids were apparently going to Cape Town on holiday.Three days later, on June 29, Van de Vyver flew his wife, Major Ansunelle Coetzee-Van de Vyver, an air force traffic controller, from Waterkloof to Overberg air force base in Cape Town, documents show.When confronted with the allegation on Friday, Van de Vyver denied he had ever used an air force plane to fly his family around the country."What the f*ck is wrong with your newspaper, why do you want to write this sh*t story while people are dying of hunger? Write about those hungry people and leave me the f*ck alone," he said.But confronted with the evidence, Van de Vyver admitted it. "Yes I did fly my kids on that day, I can't deny it - but please understand I am not using SAAF aircraft as a taxi. It is not my family taxi," he explained.The trip, which was just over three hours, would have cost Van de Vyver R19100 per hour, according to an SAAF price list.He then accused the Sunday Times of violating his privacy."The documents in your possession are a direct violation of my privacy, you are not supposed to have them. Whoever has leaked them to you would be investigated and court marshalled out of the airforce," said Van De VyverVan de Vyver claimed he flew his kids to Cape Town as part of a training programme but when confronted by the fact that his children were too young to be part of any flying programme, he changed his tune. When he was also told that it was known he had dropped them off for a holiday and did not fly back with them, he changed his story once again."We flew civilians every week, nobody ever complained - and why is it an issue?" he asked.Van de Vyver also initially denied that three days after dropping off his two daughters, he flew his wife to Cape Town on a more luxurious flight, a King Air jet - changing tune yet again when he was presented with the evidence."Yes, I flew my wife to Overberg, it was part of training and she was also going there to attend a course," he said.This trip would have cost him R52, 000 per hour, according to the SAAF price list.Air force spokesperson Brigadier-General Marthie Visser said it was against policy for Van de Vyver to fly his children around in a military aircraft."It is definitely not allowed and if it is true what you are saying, it has to be investigated," she said.She asked the Sunday Times to send detailed questions but then said she could answer only the following week.Two air force officials who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed that Van de Vyver regularly flew his family around using state aircraft."This wasn't the first time he has been using air force aeroplanes like a family taxi. He decides who must be trained to fly them and who must also be the passengers. This has been going on for years," said one of the officials.

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