The DA has published a new paper outlining how Zuma doesn’t need a shiny new jet and how it could save the country nine billion Rand if the department of defence chose not to go ahead with the purchase.
“First of all, the aircraft is new; secondly, it has been well maintained and it is literally in mint condition,” the DA’s David Maynier told Fin24.
The official opposition will submit their proposed Budget Amendment to parliament’s standing committee on appropriations later today, a document that they believe could save government up to R9.52 billion.
“We don’t think that it is therefore warranted to spend an extra R3.9bn or R4bn particularly in this economic climate on the presidential jet,” said Maynier, who is the DA’s shadow minister of Finance.
Besides not getting the jet, the DA proposed no less than 399 amendments to the budget in total. This includes our contribution to the BRICS bank and reducing spending on economic classifications and discretionary savings.
Saving on these would allow an increase in the public works budget by R1.2 billion, which could create 180 000 extra jobs. The Higher Education budget would be increased by R2.7 billion which would support 205 000 extra students and a R2.7 billion budget increase in social grants for poor households.
The DA added that, while the idea behind the budget increase for social grants is aimed at immediate relief for the poor, the ultimate goal is to alleviate poverty through increased employment.
“It’s not a question of looking at the amount of the grants in future years; we’ve got to ensure that people are able to sustain themselves without grants – that has to be the way one deals with incremental increases,” said Alf Lees, the DA’s deputy shadow minister for finance.
Maynier added that these amendments would need to be implemented as soon as possible if they’re going to work.
“We would argue that there is in fact sufficient space in the programme, to deal with it. All it would require would be for the committee obviously to make a recommendation to Parliament and for Parliament perhaps to delay the debate on the appropriations.”
“This is the first time that we have attempted to amend the budget in Parliament and it is a learning curve,” Maynier said.
While finance minister Pravin Gordhan made no mention of the presidential jetin his budget speech in February, Maynier said that it would be purchased.
“We, and certainly based on my past experience, believe that it is on the budget, but that it is hidden in the Special Defence Account.”
“That is where we believe the budget for the presidential jet is warehoused and that’s fairly consistent with my experience in the defence portfolio,” said Maynier.
Source: The South African