Ramaphosa takes 10 Cabinet Ministers to AU Summit aboard Inkwazi

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President Cyril Ramaphosa does not appear to share the reluctance of his predecessor when it comes to using the official presidential aircraft – he and 10 Cabinet Ministers were aboard Inkwazi when it flew to Addis Ababa for the African Union Summit over the weekend.

His use of the Boeing 737-7ED has been described as “fairly regular and welcome” by Kobus Marais, the Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister.

The aircraft was grounded for close on two years for, among others, non-renewal of technical maintenance contracts and a shortage of qualified personnel. Matters came to a head last March when Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula indicated an order would be placed with SAA Technical to perform a C-check inspection. This was duly completed and the twin-engined bizjet was spotted doing test flights out of AFB Waterkloof. Ramaphosa has made use of the aircraft on a number of occasions since November, the latest being the flight to and from the Ethiopian capital.

Accompanying Ramaphosa to the continental body summit were Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Lindiwe Sisulu; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Minister of State Security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba; Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies;  Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni; Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Siyabonga Cwele; Minister of Environmental Affairs, Nomvula Mokonyane; Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi; Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo and Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

While in Addis Ababa Ramaphosa also attended a Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state meeting and met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. A UN statement has it they “exchanged views on issues in the Security Council agenda, regional developments and climate change”. defenceWeb was also informed Guterres and Ramaphosa discussed strengthening the partnership between the AU, SADC and the world body.

At the Summit South Africa was elected chair of the continental body for 2020 with Ramaphosa the person to hold the position. South Africa will take over chairmanship from Egypt.