No Helicopter Use By President Zuma’s Family

Pretoria – The Presidency and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have dismissed reports that alleged family members of President Jacob Zuma made use of a military helicopter for personal travel between Durban and Nkandla.

On Sunday, the City Press had reported that the backup Oryx helicopter was grounded due to lack of funds.

The Presidency labelled this report as baseless and mischievous, while the SANDF said it was spurious allegations.

“At no point has the SA Air Force helicopter been used to transport family members. Furthermore, at no point was such ever raised by any of the crew members of the Air Force with the Command of the Air Force,” SANDF said in a separate statement.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj explained that the tasking for President Zuma’s travel is made by the Presidency and it is stipulated clearly that the aircraft or helicopter is being booked for his use.

He said family members such as a spouse or a child may travel if accompanying the principal.

“At no stage has the Presidency ever made bookings for family members travelling alone. The South African Air Force has also informed the Presidency that no such misuse of the helicopters has ever occurred,” Maharaj said.

He said the City Press reporter was informed by both the Presidency and the Department of Defence that there is no truth in the rumour but the newspaper continued to publish.

“The Presidency is alarmed by the blatant reporting of such an untruth, the purpose of which could only be to contribute to the stereotyping of the President and his family.”

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