The secretary of defence, Dr Sam Gulube, has told the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans that government plans to buy a Russian spy satellite are back on track after controversy earlier in the year when it appeared that the entire R1.2bn budget had gone missing.

Analysing the accounts presented at the meeting, the DA’s David Maynier says that the top secret procurement – codenamed “Project Flute” – may end up costing as much as R2.4bn, or double the original budget.

Maynier’s conclusions are based on totals from the Special Defence Account’s “Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure” report, which shows a total of R212m between 2010 and 2014.

“It is highly likely, given the large amount of fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” writes Maynier in a press release on the subject, “which ranges between R110 414 000 and R2 314 000 per year, that the contract for the military satellite was reinstated at a higher contract price.

“This means that the total contract price for Defence Intelligence’s Russian Kondor-E spy satellite could be as much as R2.4 billion”

Maynier says that the DA has been investigating the issue for five years. The “Kondor-E radar imaging reconnaissance satellite” was apparently ordered from Russian company NPO Mashinostroyenia.

The first Kondor-E satellite was launched into space last year, and was almost a decade overdue.

[Via – Sunday Times]
Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar,, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.