The new Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, must come out of hiding and answer a simple question: is the deal to purchase a new Boeing 777-200 Long Range business jet for President Jacob Zuma on or off?
The former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, was in the advanced stages of negotiating a R2 billion “backdoor deal” to acquire a Boeing 777-200 LR business jet for President Jacob Zuma.
We now know that:
The defence department is in the process of acquiring a Boeing 777-200 LR business jet for President Jacob Zuma as well as a Bombardier Global Express 6000 for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe;
the acquisition was proceeding after the executive approved the purchase of four new VIP aircraft for the South African Air Force;
the total cost of the Boeing 777-200 LR business jet was US$235 million (± R1.99 billion) and the cost of the Bombardier Global Express 6000 was US$28 million (±R 237 million);
the total cost of both aircraft is therefore US$263 million (approximately R 2.2 billion); and
the deal appears to have been conducted outside the normal competitive tender processes as required by National Treasury regulations and the Public Finance Management Act (Act No. 1 of 1999).
The Secretary of Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, accepted the price quotation following a proposal from Boeing on 29 May 2012.
However, it is not clear whether a final definitive purchase agreement was signed with Boeing and whether the acquisition of President Jacob Zuma’s new Boeing 777-200 LR is a done deal.
The defence department appears to be in a flat spin, scrambling to deal with the fallout from the exposé.
Last week the defence department undertook to make a public statement “within a week”.
And this morning an International Cooperation, Trade and Security cluster briefing was cancelled.
However, the former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, has come out swinging, claiming that that she advised the Secretary of Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, to suspend the process of purchasing the planes and challenging me to report the matter to the Public Protector.
This creates further confusion and raises the question whether the deal to purchase the planes was in fact suspended, following the advice of former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu.
The new Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, must therefore come out of hiding and make a public statement setting out all the facts on the dodgy R2bn deal to purchase a Boeing 777-200LR for President Jacob Zuma.
We need to know what is going on. Was the deal suspended? Or is the deal going ahead?
For the record:
I submitted a request for an investigation into this matter to the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, last week on 29 June 2012.
I will, in addition, submit a similar request to the Auditor-General, Terence Nombembe, before close of business on 03 July 2012.
The evidence suggests that the acquisition of the plane was conducted outside the normal competitive tender processes as required by National Treasury regulations and the Public Finance Management Act (Act No. 1 of 1999).
In the end, the fact is that it is simply wrong to waste nearly R2 billion on President Jacob Zuma’s new business jet when so many people in our country are poor.
We could provide nearly 24 000 houses for families who do not have shelter with the R2 billion being blown on a new Boeing 777-200LR for President Jacob Zuma.