'Zuma must answer for Guptagate'

2013-10-03 13:46

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President Jacob Zuma must answer to fresh allegations that he was behind the irregular landing of a private chartered jet at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in April, opposition parties said.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said today she would be taking “a number of immediate steps” to ensure Zuma answered to allegations that a plane ferrying guests for a Gupta family wedding landed at the base under his instructions.

“The seriousness of these latest revelations not only brings into question the ethical conduct of the president, who is now alleged to have abused public resources and institutions on the basis of personal relationships, but also indicates he could have been part of a cover-up of significant proportions,” Mazibuko said.

A government investigation exonerated Zuma and his ministers and found the landing was the result of “collusion by officials”.

But affidavits from at least two SA National Defence Force members at a military tribunal hearing directly implicated Zuma in the saga.

Mazibuko said the contradictory evidence meant a “full and proper investigation” should be conducted.

“I will therefore act immediately to table a draft resolution requesting the establishment of a special ad hoc committee in terms of rule 214(1) to investigate the conduct of President Zuma,” said Mazibuko.

She would attempt to grill Zuma on the matter when he next appeared in the National Assembly to answer oral questions.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela would also be asked to investigate.

“Advocate Madonsela had informed DA MP David Maynier that this (investigation) could not be done without evidence. The evidence now exists and her investigation should commence,” Mazibuko said.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) also weighed in.

“Innocent military officers have been severely punished, even facing expulsion from the service because we are being told they acted on their own in putting the country at risk and its protocols in disrepute,” the party said in a statement.

“These officers now appear to have run the military protocol like we are a banana republic, yet they were on strict instructions from the presidency; from Mr Zuma who intentionally sought to hide the paper trail as his head of state protocol ensured the unlawful landing of the Gupta aircraft on our air base.”

The EFF accused Zuma and his government of lying to South Africans.

Acting government spokesperson Phumla Williams came to Zuma’s defence, describing media reports on the matter as “dramatised” and “misleading”.

Williams dismissed the new allegations, saying they were false and unfounded.

“The team of directors-general who probed the incident had considered all aspects and had communicated that President Jacob Zuma was not in any way linked to the unauthorised landing of the aircraft,” she said.

“The investigation revealed that influential names were deceptively used in order to allow the plane to land at Waterkloof Air Force Base. This is not new information as portrayed by the media,” said Williams.

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