Cape Town - The government is "haggling hard" to get manufacturer Airbus to pay it nearly R3bn, an amount linked to the South African National Defence Force's cancelled contract for eight Airbus A400 aircraft, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu
said on Tuesday.
Speaking to members of parliament's watchdog standing committee on public accounts, she said the money should have been paid back when the contract was terminated in 2009.
"In terms of the contract that we have with Airbus, the money should have been paid out when the contract was terminated at a particular time, and we are haggling hard to make sure that we can get it back," she said.
Earlier, defence secretary Mpumi Mpofu
told MPs that Airbus was claiming it could not pay the lump sum, and were seeking terms.
"They have pleaded they do not have R3bn to pay back in a single cheque," she said.
The matter has been referred to Treasury to approve a repayment schedule.
In November 2009, cabinet announced it was cancelling the contract. It said at the time that the cancellation was due to "extensive cost escalation and the supplier's failure to deliver the aircraft within the stipulated timeframes".
It further said an amount of R2.9bn "would be refunded to National Treasury as per the contract provisions".