Gupta debate set for Parliament

2013-05-10 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The Gupta furore will be fought out in Parliament, probably in June.

Speaker Max Sisulu yesterday acceded to a request by the Democratic Alliance for a debate in the National Assembly.

The party said it was the first time in nine years that the speaker had scheduled a debate on an issue of public interest at their request.

DA chief whip Wattie Watson said it was hoped President Jacob Zuma would attend.

Zuma has close ties with the wealthy Gupta family, who last week landed a private jet full of wedding guests at the Waterkloof airforce base.

Cope and the F.W. de Klerk Foundation also welcomed the debate.

Moloto Mothapo, a spokesperson with the ANC whip’s office, said his party also supported the debate. “Shortly after the incident, the ANC expressed its concern. A security breach occurred and there must be an open debate about it,” he said.

The head of state protocol and four senior airforce officers have been sent on leave while the incident is investigated.

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commissioner told a media conference yesterday that permission for the landing was received three weeks beforehand.

“An application was indeed made by the high commission at the end of February, and this was done in the view of the fact that ministers and several high-level political dignitaries were going to be on board the plane, and security is one of the most paramount considerations for us,” said Virendra Gupta, who is not related to the Gupta family.

He said the commission communicated through its defence adviser with the chief of defence for foreign relations in the SA National Defence Force.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said last week there was no record of written permission for the landing.

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