Jacob Zuma To Buy Presidential Jet Despite South Africa's Poverty'

By Emmanuel Maganga - Jun 30, 2012

Jacob Zuma is in talks to buy a £165m presidential jet, it was reported, just days after the South African president warned of growing frustration among the country's poorest over the government's failure to improve their lives.

The customised Boeing 777 plane seats 300 people and would cost $150m to buy and an additional $80m to be adapted to Mr Zuma's specifications.

The Department of Defence, which oversees VIP transport, is reportedly considering spending an additional $28m on a second private plane for Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy president.

Defence Secretary Sam Makhudu Guluybe was on Friday visiting the United States to finalise the sale with Boeing, according to the Johannesburg Star newspaper.

The newspaper said it had documents which showed the defence department had negotiated a significant reduction on the jet's original price of $305m after a deal between Boeing and another buyer fell through.

The current presidential jet, known as Inkwazi which means "fish eagle" in Mr Zuma's mother tongue Zulu, was out of service for much of last year for upgrades and maintenance.

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