President Jacob Zuma was stuck in Burundi after the government-owned presidential jet experienced problems yesterday, his office said.
“President Zuma was unable to leave Burundi when his aircraft Inkwazi developed technical problems,” spokesperson Bongani Majola said in a statement. He was still there this morning.
This was not the first time that Inkwazi had been grounded due to mechanical difficulties.
Last year, Zuma faced intense criticism following reports that R4bn would be spent on acquiring a new plane for him and his entourage.
It was reported that the luxury jet would also have a conference room, bathroom and private bedroom and would accommodate 30 passengers.
Mosiua Lekota, who was defence minister when the Inkwazi was bought, said the price included R300m for the jet, and R108m to fit and decorate the interior.
During the outcry over Zuma’s R4bn jet, University of Pretoria politics lecturer Roland Henwood said that only United States of America President Barack Obama had a better plane than Zuma.
“There are world leaders who have presidential jets, but they are business jets. They are much smaller than what he [Zuma] has at this stage,” Henwood said.
“Only president Obama has a better aircraft,” he added.
Meanwhile, Zuma would miss the 16th Annual National Teaching Awards to be held in Johannesburg today.
Presidential spokesman Majola said deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa would take Zuma’s place at the event.