Auditor-General to probe “shadow planes” used by President Zuma
David Maynier, Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
20 February 2012
The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes Auditor-General Terrance Nombembe confirmation that an investigation will be conducted into expenditure on the so-called “shadow planes” used during President Jacob Zuma’s recent visit to the United States.
President Jacob Zuma’s Boeing Business Jet (“Inkwazi”) was “shadowed” by two backup aircraft including a South African Airways Airbus A340 and a Bombadier Global Express XRS during a recent visit to the United States.
The SAA Airbus A340 (200) is a long range, four engined, wide body jet aircraft designed to carry more than 250 passengers. The Bombadier Global Express XRS is an ultra-long range executive jet air aircraft designed to seat up to 19 passengers.
The justification for the use of backup aircraft to “shadow” President Jacob Zuma’s Boeing Business Jet has never been properly explained.
We do not have all the facts but operating the three aircraft may have required up to 16 pilots, two flight engineers and 16 cabin crew and cost more than R10 million.
It was also reported that the use of the “shadow planes” was not authorized, presumably by the Chief of the South African Air Force, General Carlo Gagiano, and the Secretary of Defence, Sam Galube.
Expenditure on the “shadow planes” may therefore have been unauthorized, irregular or wasteful expenditure.
I therefore wrote to the Auditor General, Terrance Nombembe, on 30 January 2012, requesting an investigation into expenditure on the “shadow planes”.
I have now received a response from the Office of the Auditor-General confirming that an investigation will be conducted into expenditure on the “shadow planes” used by President Jacob Zuma.
In a letter dated 02 February 2012 the Office of the Auditor-General states the following:
“The relevant process will be audited as part of the Supply Chain Management audit, evaluated for compliance with applicable Treasury Regulations and Practice Notes, and reported on to Parliament if required.”
We cannot sit back and allow million of rands to be wasted on the “shadow planes” for President Jacob Zuma.