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HomePoliticsR600k Feast Aboard! Extravagant Catering Costs On President Ramaphosa's Plane Raise Concerns

R600k Feast Aboard! Extravagant Catering Costs On President Ramaphosa’s Plane Raise Concerns

A former pilot remarked that abuse of resources on VIP flights was nothing new, detailing how one passenger’s luggage had a bag of biltong and other foods, including a whole chocolate cake.

Passengers aboard President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plane enjoyed lavish meals and drinks on their return from the funeral of British Queen Elizabeth II, at a cost of R24 000 per head.

The presidential jet Inkwazi is managed by the SA Airforce and carries 18 passengers and six crew members. According to the City Press, continued manipulation of Inkwazi catering costs saw the food and drinks price tag shoot up to R569 000 when Ramaphosa and his team returned from London to South Africa last year.

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With the crew eating their own cheaper meals, the cost per head for the VIPs could be even higher.

Questions linger about the non-perishable food and drinks from the jet that is never returned to save costs. These include expensive liquor onboard and luxury food and snacks. For each flight, regardless of its duration, four boxes of Lindt and Ferrero Rocher chocolates are purchased at a cost of about R300 per box, according to the publication.

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A former pilot remarked that abuse of resources on VIP flights was nothing new, detailing how one passenger’s luggage had a bag of biltong and other foods, including a whole chocolate cake.

The Air Force, which is responsible for all the operational expenses of VIP aircraft and even chartered flights, is already in such financial straits that 85% of its aircraft are unserviceable due to financial shortages.

However, the standard arrangement that nonperishable foods be returned to subsequent flights is never adhered to.

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Domestic flights are not spared lavish spending either. The newspaper further reports that a full pantry of food is ordered even on express flights, even with their very limited window to serve gourmet meals.

A flight to Turkey for an inauguration was ordered by Ramaphosa but was later cancelled. But the food had already been loaded onto the aircraft and the flight departed for Cape Town to pick up the President.

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The next day, the aircraft returned to Waterkloof Airbase due to the cancellation, but apparently, none of the food was returned. The cancelled Turkey flight cost almost R91 000 for catering alone.

Ramaphosa’s spokesman Vincent Magwenya told City Press that the Presidency had no control over food and drinks served on Inkwazi. The Department of Defence said SA Air Force chief Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo viewed the allegations in a “very serious light.”

“The matter’s already been prioritised through the relevant levels of command to ensure appropriate interrogation of all aspects pertaining to these serious allegations,” spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini told the publication.

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Ntuthuko Gumede for SurgeZirc SA
Ntuthuko Gumede for SurgeZirc SA
In the fast-paced world of politics, staying informed is crucial. Ntuthuko Gumede, a renowned journalist, has been making waves with his insightful and thought-provoking political news articles on SurgeZirc SA. With his expertise and dedication to reporting accurate and unbiased information, Gumede has become a trusted source for political analysis.
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