The DA has welcomed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s decision to conduct a preliminary investigation into alleged attempts to buy new presidential jets.
In a letter to Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier, dated July 4, Madonsela states she has decided to conduct a preliminary investigation into the allegations. The aim is to establish whether there is a need for her to conduct a full investigation as envisaged in the Public Protector Act.
In a statement on Thursday (19/07/2012), Maynier said this followed his request for an investigation into "what appears to be a very dodgy process to purchase transcontinental VIP aircraft, including a Boeing 777-200 LR and Global Express 6000, which would have cost more than R2 billion”.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had done the right thing and cancelled the acquisition process, he said.
However, there were still a number of unanswered questions, such as whether former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu did in fact advise that the deal be suspended.
Other questions included why, given that the decision to purchase the aircraft had been taken at least 18 months previously, it was necessary to deviate from normal competitive procurement processes, and whether the necessary authority to do so was received from the National Treasury and/or defence department.
The DA wanted to know why Armscor — the defence department’s principle defence material acquisition agency — had not led the buying process.
Maynier questioned why neither the defence joint standing committee nor the defence portfolio committee were briefed on the deal.
"The public protector has agreed to provide me with feedback on the outcome of the investigation as soon as possible and we must now await the outcome of the preliminary investigation,” he said. - Sapa