The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal for the first time that between 2009 and 2012 million of rands have been wasted on hundreds of VIP flights which were empty.
Staggeringly, this includes 249 flights undertaken on luxury Gulfstream business jets, which had no VIP passengers on-board, and which cost more than R7.5 million.
Replies to a series of parliamentary questions revealed that between 2009 and 2012 the South African Air Force (SAAF) undertook a total of 700 “ferry flights” for VIPs at the cost of R34.4 million.
So far as I am aware this is the first time the SAAF has disclosed information about “ferry flights”.
A “ferry flight” is a delivery flight where, for example, a VIP aircraft is tasked to move from one base to another base without VIP passengers on-board.
A good example of a “ferry flight” would be when a VIP aircraft is tasked to fly from Waterkloof Air Force base to collect VIP passengers at Ysterplaat Air Force base.
Between 2009 and 2012 the SAAF’s Squadron 21(“VIP Squadron”), the SAAF’s Reserve Force Squadron as well as aircraft chartered by the SAAF undertook 700 VIP “ferry flights” broken down as follows:
SAAF (Squadron 21)
SAAF (Reserve Force Squadrons)
SAAF (Chartered Aircraft)
A total of R 34.4 million was spent on the “ferry flights” between 2009 and 2012 broken down as follows: SAAF Squadron 21 (VIP Squadron) – R 13.5; SAAF (Reserve Force Squadrons) – R11. 4 million; and SAAF (Chartered) – R9.5 million.
Moreover, the replies to parliamentary questions on VIP “ferry flights” revealed that:
President Jacob Zuma’s Boeing Business Jet (“Inkwazi”) undertook 58 “ferry flights” at the cost of R4.9 million between 2009 and 2012;
luxury Gulfstream business jets were used for a staggering 249 “ferry flights” at the cost of R7. 5 million between 2009 and 2012; and
an Airbus – most probably the Airbus A 340 (200 Series) used to shadow President Jacob Zuma’s Boeing Business Jet during a recent trip to the United States – undertook two “ferry flights” at the cost of R4.6 million in 2011/12.
This is staggering.
The fact is that we are wasting millions of rands on hundreds of empty VIP flights.
This is probably as a result of poor planning as well as the high number of VIP flights.
The Ministerial Handbook for Members of the Executive and Presiding Officers is clear: members of the executive may use military aircraft for official purposes under exceptional circumstances only.
This is clearly not happening.
I will, therefore, be submitting follow-up parliamentary questions to Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to determine:
the names of the ministers who have been using and abusing VIP aircraft operated by the SAAF; and
what is being done to reduce the number and the cost of “ferry flights” on VIP aircraft operated by the SAAF.