DA slams police plane

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has slammed the police’s purchase, last February, of a Cessna Citation C680 Sovereign private business jet, at a cost of R150 million, to transport, among others, the police Special Task force to hostage situations.

The party’s shadow police minister, Dianne Kohler-Barnard said this was a “disgraceful waste of public money” that could have paid for 46 627 new bullet proof vests.

“We have a national carrier and an Air Force, and given the array of serious resourcing problems facing the Police, it is unthinkable that such an enormous amount of money would be frittered away on a private jet,” she added.

The aircraft is one of seven light planes owned by the SA Police Service Air Wing and based at Wonderboom, Pretoria. The Air Wing also operates about 30 helicopters.

Police national commissioner Bheki Cele’s office was asked for a response to the accusations, but did not respond by the time of publication.

Kohler-Barnard’s accusations follow from the written answer tabled in the National Assembly yesterday to a question she posed to police minister Nathi Mthetwa in July.

The answer stated the aircraft cost the police R149 723 944. The Cessna is registered with the SA Civil Aviation Authority as ZS-SAP. Stated roles include:

  • transportation of members of the Special Task force to hostage situations;

  • transportation of members of Crime Intelligence for follow-up operations;

  • transportation of VIP Protection Service advance teams to countries in Africa;

  • transportation of the task team responsible for the establishment of the DPCI (Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation, aka the “Hawks”, successors to the “Scorpions”) ;

  • transportation of the task team responsible for the planning of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2009 and FIFA World Cup in 2010;

  • transportation of the planning team responsible for planning the National and Provincial Government Elections in 2009;

  • operational visits to ports of entry and borderline areas by command staff;

  • transportation of the Minister of Police, Deputy Minister of Police and SAPS top management members to the opening of new SAPS stations and official SAPS functions;

  • transportation of SAPS members to neighbouring countries for SARPCCO meetings and operations;

  • transportation of SAPS top management members to Cape Town for Parliamentary meetings;

  • transportation of SAPS members for operational visits to national key points;

  • transportation of SAPS members with specialised skills to venues during major events ie during the FCC in 2009;

  • transportation of members of the IMSC and Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Joints) to Provinces to evaluate the state of readiness of security personnel re the National and Provincial Government Elections in 2009;

  • operational visits to Provinces;

  • visits to SAPS deployments in Africa.

The answer also included a breakdown of recent flights:

Destination

Date

Passengers & purpose

Kimberley

2008-09-18

Attending an official SAPS function as Functionary with SAPS top management

George/Cape Town

2008-12-16

Visit to SAPS operations with SAPS top management

Ulundi

2009-01-23

Opening of new SAPS station with SAPS top management

Cape Town

2009-03-11

Visit to Provinces by IMSC and JOINTS to determine state of readiness re the National and Provincial Government Elections

Durban & Ulundi

2009-03-12 to 20090313

Visit to Provinces by IMSC and JOINTS to determine state of readiness re the National and Provincial Government Elections

Port Elizabeth & East London

2009-03-31 to 2009B0401

Visit to Provinces by IMSC and JOINTS to determine state of readiness re the National and Provincial Government Elections

Bloemfontein

2009-04-09

Visit to Provinces by IMSC and JOINTS to determine state of readiness re the National and Provincial Government Elections

Kroonstad & Kimberley

2009-04-13

to

2009-04-14

Visit to Provinces by IMSC and JOINTS to determine state of readiness re the National and Provincial Government Elections

Durban

2009-04-15



Visit to Provinces by IMSC and JOINTS to determine state of readiness re the National and Provincial Government Elections