Plane sale was plain sailing, insists Sisulu

She would, however, co-operate with the auditor general and the public protector on an investigation into the tender process to buy the plane, her office said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said: "No information would be provided to the Democratic Alliance (DA) and there is no basis in law for the ministry to do so".

He was responding to the DA's challenge to Sisulu that she produce proof that the tender process was sound.

Earlier DA parliamentarian David Maynier said: "Sisulu should produce documentary evidence that the minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan, approved the deviation from normal competitive bidding processes."

Mabaya said: "It is our suspicion that the DA is demanding this information in order to parade it in the media but not for oversight and monitoring of the work of the department."

He said the party was ignorant of the government's procurement processes, as ministers were not responsible for buying but were mandated to create "an enabling environment".

Procurement processes
This included submitting the project to Cabinet and consulting with the finance minister.

Rather, accounting officers, director generals and chief financial officers were responsible for rolling out procurement processes.

Mabaya appealed to the DA to let the public protector and auditor general's investigations unfold.

On Monday, Sisulu said she was "absolutely convinced" the department had followed correct procurement processes regarding the R2-billion Boeing 777-200 Long Range business jet.

She said the defence department had taken advice from national treasury as well as the accountant-general on the potential purchase, which had been making headlines since the weekend.

On Monday Mabaya said she had called for the deal to be suspended to allow her successor at defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to redefine the department's priorities.

'Matter of national security'
Maynier also took issue with this step, calling it an attempt to distance herself from the matter.

"This sounds too much like a useful pretext to extricate herself from a dubious deal to purchase a new jet for President [Jacob] Zuma," he said.

Die Burger newspaper reported that Sisulu had planned to use a R3.5-billion refund the government had secured on the cancelled purchase of eight A400M Airbus military transport planes to buy the new jet.

According to the daily, Sisulu wrote to Gordhan last month, asking to be exempted from the normal tender rules because buying a new plane for the president was a "matter of national security".

Maynier said if Sisulu produced documents to prove that Gordhan approved the deviation from the normal bidding process, he would withdraw his request that the public protector investigate the matter.

Both the DA and the Inkatha Freedom Party said it was unconscionable that the government would spend that much on a presidential jet when so many South Africans lived in poverty.

"This money could be better spent in trying to alleviate the many burning issues our country faces, such as our socio-economic challenges," IFP spokesperson Albert Mncwango said. – Sapa

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sapa
Guest Author
Advertisting

In East Africa, the locusts are coming back for more

In February the devastating locust swarms were the biggest seen in East Africa for 70 years. Now they’re even bigger

Western Cape Judge Mushtak Parker faces second misconduct complaint

The Cape Bar Council says his conduct is ‘unbecoming the holding of judicial office’

‘My biggest fear was getting the virus and dying in...

South African Wuhan evacuee speaks about his nine-week ordeal

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories