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PostPosted: 04 Dec 2017, 13:42 
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​In a parliamentary question placed before Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula it has been revealed that the SA Air Force (SAAF) is over budget by R35 million for VVIP and VIP transport in the 2016 / 17 financial year. This is not all opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais was told by the Minister. “For the 2015 / 16 period the air force also overspent the VVIP budget to the extent of R22.5 million. All told that is a total overspend in excess of R57 million in two financial years,” he said. The Ministerial response to his question also shows at least three ‘big ticket VVIP charters’, which collectively cost t R12.5 million in the financial year that ended on 31 March this year. “This is what happens when President Jacob Zuma refuses to fly on the perfectly functional presidential jet, Inkwazi.”

A lack of qualified maintenance and service personnel has seen low availability of aircraft including Inkwazi, a Falcon 900B and a Falcon 50. It has been reported that the situation is heading towards a complete grounding of all aircraft on the squadron’s inventory. Speaking at a CSANDF briefing at AFB Waterkloof earlier this month Lt Gen. Msimang said aircraft availability at 21 Squadron would be markedly better in six months’ time. This was because plans were in place and work was being done to ensure the air force had sufficient trained personnel to keep the VIP squadron’s aircraft airworthy. “The only maintenance the SAAF will not be able to do itself is deep maintenance and this will be outsourced,” Msimang said. He did not respond when asked which aircraft were currently serviceable and which were expected to be airworthy during the course of next year.

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