‘Furious’ colonel to sue govt

2013-05-28 00:00

A “FURIOUS” air force colonel at the centre of the Guptagate scandal will sue government for saying she used President Jacob Zuma’s name.

Lieutenant-Colonel Christine Anderson has decided to file a damages claim for defamation after she was criticised in government’s report into the landing of a private jet carrying guests for the Gupta family wedding at Waterkloof Airforce Base.

Pikkie Greeff, the national secretary of the SA National Defence Union, yesterday confirmed that Anderson will instruct her attorneys to sue.

The criminal justice sector’s report into the landing — made public last week — accuses Anderson of colluding with the Guptas and the chief of state protocol, Bruce Koloane, in obtaining irregular permission for a plane carrying Gupta wedding guests to land at Waterkloof.

Despite the fact that Anderson is accused of a “serious dereliction of duty”, City Press can reveal that she was only sent five questions by the investigating team that made the adverse finding against her.

The team didn’t interview her, but acting government spokesperson Phumla Williams said that Anderson was approached for an interview.

“She [Anderson] wished to consult with lawyers.

“Subsequent to this, she did not volunteer herself for any further interviews. The investigating team didn’t see any need to engage with her further,” Williams said.

The questions posed to Anderson do not relate to any of the negative findings made against her in the report.

Greeff told City Press the methodology of the report was completely wrong and that much of its content relating to Anderson was false.

“[The report] is against all rules of natural justice, against rules of testing evidence [and] against the rules of giving someone a chance to hear their side of the story,” he said.

The section of the report that criticises Anderson relies on an interview with Sergeant-Major Thabo Ntshisi from the Airforce Command Post.

It states that Ntshisi initially refused Koloane’s request in mid-March for the plane to be given clearance to land.

Anderson then allegedly returned a phone call from Ntshisi during which she, it is claimed, asked him how he could refuse a request from Koloane.

“Anderson then states that ‘in confidentiality (sic) I must be very careful now, our Number One knows about this. It is political. Allow them’,” reads the report.

Ntshisi then proceeded with granting the clearances.

Anderson remains suspended, pending the findings of a board of inquiry.

Greeff told City Press that Anderson was not available for comment.

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