- The South African Air Force were charged R1.5 million for a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town for President Cyril Ramaphosa
- The air force has been forced to lease planes from SAA because its fleet of VIP planes are inoperable
- The air force has spent R50 million in four months on presidential and VIP flights
The South African Air Force had to pay R1.5 million for a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town for President Cyril Ramaphosa and a group of 30 VIPs on 21 June. The air force had to lease a plane from South African Airways (SAA) after no commercial flight were available.
The air force which is tasked with keeping Ramaphosa and other government officials in the sky has been forced to lease planes from the embattled national carrier because its own fleet of VIP jets remain inoperable and because Ramaphosa refuses to make use of private leasing companies.
Ramaphosa drew a line in the sand after it emerged the air force had leased a private jet from controversial businessman Zunaid Moti for his first ever trip abroad as president in March.
Briefly.co.za gathered that the controversy surrounding the incident caused Ramaphosa to adopt a policy of only using air force or SAA owned planes.
The flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town accommodated 30 people on a flight which was designed for around 316, experts have noted that renting a private jet for the same flight and number of people would have cost ‘only’ in the region of R350 000.
Mybroadband.co.za reported that Ramaphosa’s policy of not using private planes coupled with the air force’s inability to operate its VIP jet fleet has cost the taxpayer at least R50 million in the past four months.
Ramaphosa’s recent flight to the G7 summit in Canada cost came at a staggering cost of between R7 million and R10 million.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson said the president tries to use the cheapest available flights at all times, but she noted that commercial flights were not always available. In cases when no commercial flights were available the air force had to make alternative arrangements.
The air force noted that it would continue to pay for all presidential and other VIP flights until a new VIP jet had been purchased through the correct tender process.
The air force is also having difficulties dealing with SAA’s invoices because the payment arrangement between SAA and the air force flaunts prescribed Treasury regulations.
SAA simply provides a letter with the costs for each flight and does not itemise how the price of each flight is calculated and does not provide comparative quotes, both of which are required by regulations before payment can be made.
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