SA: “Whites Stole Aircraft”

Ex-pilots—and by implication whites—have “stolen” aircraft from the South African Air Force (SAAF), and this is why there are not enough aircraft to train new pilots, that country’s Minister of Defense has announced.

The ludicrous accusation—which illustrates once again South Africa’s slide into Third World nonsense—was made by Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in parliament.
South African Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Responding to a question on why SAAF pilots were being sent to Russia and Cuba to train, Nqakula said, “We have a problem. Sometimes these young people train and they run short of flying hours before they can get their wings. We can't give them those flying hours because there are no aircraft.”

“I tell you that some of the aircraft were taken by some of the people who left the Air Force and they belong to them in their museum.

“Actually it started ages ago and some of the people stole some of the assets of the people and left with them. So when you talk about shortages it has to do with the fact that some of the assets were stolen.”

The real reason for the shortage of aircraft has, of course, nothing to do with pilots “stealing” them.  The SAAF’s previous generation of aircraft were known as “Cheetahs,” which were highly modified and updated French Dassault Mirage III jet fighter aircraft.

The Cheetahs were all phased out of service in 2008 and placed into storage, and in 2010, twelve of these aircraft—all still in perfect working order—were sold to the Ecuador air force, where they are still in use.

The SAAF replaced the Cheetahs with twenty-six Swedish SAAB Gripen fighter jets in a still-controversial arms purchase.

However, the affirmative action program at the SAAF, combined with inevitable budget cuts, ensured that the new aircraft were never fully utilized.

In March 2013, Nqakula claimed in parliament that twelve of the twenty-six aircraft had been “placed in long-term storage” because there was not enough money in the budget to keep them flying.

In September that year, however, General John Bayne—one of the few whites left at that senior level in the SAAF—said that in fact the Gripens were not in “long-term storage” as Nqakula had said, but rather that they were in “short-term storage” and were rotated with the operational aircraft in order to reduce wear and tear.

The inactive aircraft are stored “under tents” to reduce corrosion, he added.

In other words, the SAAF still has its full contingent of aircraft that the ANC government purchased—although how many of them are actually operational is anyone’s guess—and absolutely none have been “stolen” by retiring pilots.

Although Nqakula did not specifically mention the race of the ex-pilots, it is clear that she was referring to whites who have been forced out of the SAAF in terms of the government’s forced affirmative action program.

In 2013, the international military think-tank website, Strategypage, warned that the SAAF's “affirmative action policy will result in nothing more than higher plane crash statistics.”

It said that the “most obvious” evidence of the SAAF’s decline was “the decrepit state of aging buildings, runways, and aircraft. But the biggest problem is getting, and keeping, technical people. This is complicated by a government program to integrate previously all white institutions.”

According to that report, the government “has set a racial goal for SAAF pilots and wants them to be 75 percent black and 25 percent white. A lack of qualified black air force personnel means that this goal has still not been met.
“The morale problem started getting a lot worse back in 2005, when the three top rated graduates of pilot training school, who would normally go on to fly fighters, were told that, because they were white, they would instead fly helicopters or transports. Three less qualified black pilots would go on to fly fighters.

“When commanders noted the morale problem, and public outcry, they declared that it was no longer the policy to send the best pilots to fighters but to spread the best pilots around to all flying communities.

“A similar situation occurs in other technical specialties, like maintaining the aircraft. Fewer whites are enlisting for these jobs, and more existing techs are quitting for civilian jobs.”