South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma’s presidential jet finally took off on Saturday afternoon following a mechanical problem that prevented him from leaving Bujumbura on Friday.
Zuma was attending a meeting with other Heads of State to bolster peace talks with President Pierre Nkurunziza.
According to a terse statement by South Africa’s presidency, he was due to attend an awards ceremony in Johannesburg that will now be attended by the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Deputy President Ramaphosa will replace President Zuma at the 16th Annual National Teaching Awards ceremony today. https://t.co/uwx0RRECFM— PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) February 27, 2016
The awards ceremony was held to honour dedicated, creative, and effective teachers and schools and also to recognise and promote excellence in teaching performance, the presidency said.
In April 2015 it was reported that the plane, known as Inkwazi was experiencing technical problems. Government at the time announced that it was considering purchasing another jet for Zuma.
In November government sparked an outcry from citizens after over a tender to acquire a private jet for the president at a cost of about $250 million.
The South African Air Force following the reports said it was only procuring a new jet because it could not cope with the demand for intercontinental travel by government officials.