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SAAF has conducted 814 VIP flights since 2009

altSince 2009 the South African Air Force (SAAF) has conducted 814 VIP flights, including 606 flights by aircraft from 21 Squadron and 208 flights using aircraft from reserve squadrons. These flights have cost a total of R217 million.

This information emerged in the responses to parliamentary questions answered by outgoing Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu, who, after Tuesday’s Cabinet reshuffle is being replaced by Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The 606 VIP flights conducted by 21 Squadron aircraft cost R143 156 838, while the 208 flights conducted by SAAF reserve squadrons cost a total of R74 103 469, according to Sisulu’s department. This figure does not include flights chartered by the Air Force, which chartered 55 VIP flights between 2009 and May 2012, at a cost of R76 277 351.10, according to figures provided by answers to the parliamentary questions.

It has also emerged that President Jacob Zuma undertook 286 flights aboard SAAF VIP aircraft and chartered jets since 2009, at a cost of R140.5 million. Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, on the other hand, embarked on 213 flights in the same period, at a cost of R70 million, while former President Thabo Mbeki undertook 39 flights at a cost of R32.13 million.

Sisulu, during this period, undertook 268 flights at a cost of R40 581 878.12.

These four individuals in total flew on 806 VIP flights, at a cost of R282 974 026.61, between 2009 and 2012.

21 Squadron flights:

Year

 

Inkwazi

Falcon 900

Falcon 50

Total

2009/2010

 

65

25

100

190

2010/2011

 

74

55

72

201

2011/2012

 

50

70

69

189

From April 1, 2012

 

10

4

12

26

Total

199

154

253

606



21 Squadron flight costs

Year

 

Inkwazi

Falcon 900

Falcon 50

Total

2009/2010

 

R26 063 400

R3 439 553.20

R11 448 731

R40 951 684

2010/2011

 

R37 903 250

R7 208 350

R8 799 845 .70

R53 911 445

2011/2012

 

R24 33[0] 100

R10 455 261

R7 835 774

R42 621 135

From April 1, 2012

 

R2 649 900

R950 766.80

R2 071 908

R5 672 574

Total

R90 946 650

R22 053 930

R30 156 258

R143 156 838



SAAF reserve squadron flights

Year

 

Citation

DC-9

Gulfstream II

Gulfstream III

Hawker

Premier

Total

2009/2010

 

0

14

51

0

7

6

78

2010/2011

 

4

5

33

17

14

7

80

2011/2012

 

0

2

16

16

9

6

49

From April 1, 2012

 

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Total

4

21

100

33

30

20

208



SAAF reserve squadron flight costs

Year

 

Citation

DC-9

Gulfstream II

Gulfstream III

Hawker

Premier

Total

2009/2010

 

R0.00

R12 083 473

R18 490 782

R0.00

R746 304

R328 845

R31 649 404

2010/2011

 

R771 222

R4 216 199

R12 186 687

R7 283 942

R1 681 552

R 429 231

R26 568 833

2011/2012

 

R0.00

R615 457

R4 205 619

R9 192 317

R1 245 456

R542 550

R15 801 399

From April 1, 2012

 

R0.00

R0.00

R0.00

R0.00

R0.00

R83 825

R83 825

Total

R771 222

R16 915 129

R34 883 088

R16 476 259

R3 673 312

R1 384 451

R74 103 461



The South African Air Force’s 21 Squadron flies a Falcon 900B, two Falcon 50s, two Cessna Citations and a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ - Inkwazi). The latter is the only intercontinental aircraft in the squadron. It spent three months in Switzerland last year undergoing maintenance and only arrived back in South Africa on December 21.

Chief of the South African Air Force Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano earlier this year said that the SAAF in September 2011 had created a dedicated unit for managing VIP transport and that the newly established unit will see all VIP flight activities consolidated under a single command.

Gagiano said that the SAAF is busy drawing up a memorandum of understanding with South African Airways (SAA) regarding the leasing of its aircraft for VIP flights.

In early December last year it was reported that the SA National Defence Force had asked SAA to provide alternative aircraft for Zuma and Motlanthe after a series of embarrassing mechanical problems, which have affected Motlanthe's aircraft since 2009, resulted in his missing an official trip to Finland.

The Department of Defence is busy looking for two new VIP aircraft for top government officials. The SAAF is busy working on the requirements for the new jets and will issue a tender once these have been finalised. Late last month Defence Department spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya said the leasing and purchase processes were ongoing and the department would communicate the details once the deals had been concluded.

Note: Totals calculated in the tables are to the nearest rand and do not include cent values.

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