More questions around Inkwazi grounding
With President Jacob Zuma back from his latest foreign policy endeavour in strife-torn Burundi, questions are again being asked about the Presidential BBJ, Inkwazi. In the wake of the latest technical problem with the Presidential Boeing 737 opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais said this should not be seen as any added inducement to acquire another VIP aircraft. “The President was stranded in Burundi due to mechanical problems with Inkwazi. This is likely due to poor maintenance and not because the plan is old and needs to be replaced. The procurement of a new jet should not be the priority of government for the President to carry out his official duties, especially not in the context of a strained economic environment. “While appreciating the inconvenience of a faulty aircraft the reality is that, given the current economic turmoil, coupled with South Africa’s unemployment crisis, the country simply cannot afford to spend R4 billion on a luxury jet,” Marais said. Centurion-headquartered trade union Solidarity is currently overseeing the retrenchment of the final 61 former Aero Manpower Group (AMG) technicians, some of whom might have been part of the teams assigned to maintenance at the SA Air Force’s (SAAF’s) VIP squadron.