President Jacob Zuma should use SA Airways when flying, and the country did not need to spend R2-billion on a new aircraft for him, the DA said on Friday.
"If British Prime Minister David Cameron can use British Airways to fly, then Zuma can fly SAA," said Democratic Alliance defence and military veterans spokesperson David Maynier.
"It is simply wrong to spend R2-billion on a presidential jet when so many people in the country are poor. I believe a presidential jet should only be used in exceptional circumstances."
Maynier was responding to a report in the Star that defence secretary Sam Makhudu Guluybe was visiting the United States to finalise the purchase of a 300-seater Boeing 777-200LR for Zuma.
The jet would cost $150-million (about R1.26-billion) and an extra $80-million (about R672.5-million) to reconfigure.
Also included in the deal was a Global Express 600 costing $28-million (R235-million) for the deputy president, bringing the total bill for VVIP transport to $258-million (about R2.17-billion).
"I hope that delegates at the African National Congress's national policy conference will confront Zuma and ask him how he can spend so much money on a jet that could be used to assist our country with poverty and unemployment," Maynier said.
He said he intended asking Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate whether state spending on the new aircraft for Zuma and the deputy president was warranted.
The defence ministry could not be reached for comment.