Presidency dismisses reports that Zuma refused to fly in official aircraft

PRETORIA, May 29 (ANA) – The presidency on Sunday dismissed reports that President Jacob Zuma refused to fly in his official aircraft Inkwazi for fear of sabotage of the aircraft.

The presidency said in a statement it was “disturbed by yet another misleading story in Naspers titles” about Zuma’s aircraft and flights.

“It has become a trend for misleading rumours and gossip to be reported by journalist Ms Erika Gibson in City Press and Rapport every Sunday purportedly emanating from a source or sources within the South African Air Force.

“The president did not refuse to fly in any aircraft as reported today [Sunday]. The presidency requested that a reliable aircraft be made available on 23 May 2016 in order to avoid another inconvenience too soon after Qatar, where the presidential plane Inkwazi broke down again resulting in the need to source an alternative aircraft to enable the president to return to South Africa,” the presidency said.

The City Press report that Zuma was on his way to Durban to deal with issues relating to the change of premiers in that province was also incorrect. Zuma was on his way to Durban to officiate at the launch of the new Toyota Hilux and Fortuner models on Tuesday after which he needed to go to Cape Town to chair Cabinet the next morning.

The defence force had indicated that it was looking for long-term solutions to the aircraft “debacle which affects both the president and the deputy president”, the presidency said.

In another statement on Sunday, the presidency said Zuma had received a “preliminary briefing” from Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula regarding the circumstances surrounding her transportation of a Burundian national to South Africa in January 2014.

“The president is considering the matter and there is no further comment from the presidency at this stage,” the statement said.

Mapisa-Nqakula is alleged to have smuggled the Burundian woman into South Africa illegally aboard a government aircraft.

– African News Agency (ANA)

Disclaimer: This story is pulled directly from the African News Agency wire, and has not been edited by Mail & Guardian staff. The M&G does not accept responsibility for errors in any statement, quote or extract that may be contained therein.

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