Broke SANDF spends millions to bring eight pilot trainees home from Cuba
Chartered flight cost between R2.1m and R7m after students kicked off course for test ‘that was in no way scientific’
The cash-strapped SA National Defence Force (SANDF) forked out millions of rand on a chartered Air Zimbabwe flight to bring home eight trainee pilots who had failed their eye tests in Cuba.
Already battling budget cuts, a crumbling infrastructure and an internal board of inquiry into nearly R1bn of wasteful expenditure, the latest saga involves the SANDF’s vaunted Cuban military training exchange programme, code-named Project Thusano.
Three weeks after their arrival in August, eight of the 12 SA Air Force (SAAF) trainees were told they had failed an eye test conducted with a BIC ballpoint pen and were kicked off the programme. The test required trainees to follow the movement of the pen with their eyes. ..