Guptagate: 10 things worth knowing about the probe

2013-05-20 11:38

Not sure what to make of government’s briefing on the Guptagate investigation? City Press political reporter Carien du Plessis breaks it down for you:

1. President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet were not involved in authorising the landing at Waterkloof and are therefore considered innocent.

2. The Guptas were turned down by Airports Company of SA in February when they wanted landing rights and “an elaborate reception for the wedding party”.

3. They were also turned down by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula when they approached her “on different occasions” (presumably for permission to land at a military base) in March and on April 3.

4. The Gupta family then resorted to using diplomatic channels with the support of “an individual” at the Indian High Commission, who communicated directly with officials at Waterkloof. No note verbale was sent to the department of international relations as required.

5. Chief of State Protocol Bruce Koloane was the main actor in the irregular process because he acted in the absence of a note verbale. Some public servants lower down the chain of command did raise concerns which were ignored by superiors.

6. Waterkloof air force base is not a national key point but a strategic military base with strict rules and regulations. It receives both military and civilian aircraft but proper procedures must be followed.

7. The landing of the Gupta jet “had the potential to compromise the credibility” of the South African government and “could have caused severe reputational damage to the state itself”. In other words, it made us look like a banana republic.

8. Contrary to “dramatised” reports in the media and on social networking sites, the Gupta jet did not go for a joy ride over SA cities but complied with air traffic control procedures, protocol and instructions.

9. Because of the size of the convoy, with 121 cars, which took the Gupta guests to the wedding in Sun City, police had to help out. But there were also police officers who moonlighted illegally, carried firearms illegally outside their metro jurisdictions and who drove cars illegally fitted with blue lights.

10. Name-dropping by public servants is at the centre of the debacle, and they will be made aware that this is unethical and will in future be considered gross misconduct. The names of Zuma, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Mapisa-Nqakula were used in this debacle.

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