It is alleged that the North West premier Supra Mahumapelo is in the process of procuring a state aircraft.
This is according to the Sunday Times, which reports that it had seen a memo from Mahumapelo’s office to the provincial government owned company, NorthWest Transport Investments, which was invited to a provincial cabinet meeting at the end of October to make a presentation on the procurement.
It was further reported that the premier’s office confirmed the plans to buy a jet, with provincial government spokesperson Brian Setswambung reportedly saying that the public transport entity would conduct a cost analysis on whether it would be more cost effective to subside the Mahikeng airport route or to buy a jet. Further, he stated that if the North West government was to own an aircraft, it would be used by all members of the executive committee.
This was corroborated by the chairperson of the NorthWest Transport Investments, Phatudi Maponya who reportedly said that the premier never said he wanted to buy an aircraft for himself. Maponya explained that SA Express needed a subsidy from the North West as they did not have enough aircrafts and therefore flights between Johannesburg and the North West were often delayed.
The EFF reportedly said they would not allow the premier to buy an aircraft for himself using public funds.
Although no price has been attached to Mahumapelo’s dream jet, to buy and operate the aircraft could cost the provincial government millions, the newspaper reported.
The Democratic Alliance said on Sunday that Mahumapelo must put the people of the province first and shelve a ridiculous plan to buy himself a lavish private jet using public money.
DA North West leader Joe McGluwa said, “In the province with the highest unemployment rate in South Africa, at a shocking 44.6 percent, it is simply unconscionable that Supra could put himself first and prepare to purchase a multi-million rand jet rather than spend money on creating jobs and opportunities.”
Mahumapelo should stop his “delusions of aviation grandeur” and face the realities of the North West. The people did not have jobs because his government had failed to grow the economy, failed to create jobs, and “professionalised corruption” with irregular spending increasing by R1 billion this year alone, now totaling R3 billion a year, McGluwa said.
“A choice to rather support the growth of Mahikeng airport would instead create a public benefit, allowing better connections to our province for business and investment, tourism, and trade. Our province needs the connections of a more available Mahikeng airport, not a luxury jet for ANC political elites.”
– Additional reporting by African News Agency (ANA)