Gupta saga: Govt waiting for next move

2013-05-14 18:21
Virendra Gupta

Virendra Gupta

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Pretoria - South Africa has taken no decision yet about laying a complaint with India over the landing of a privately chartered plane at Waterkloof Air Force Base.

International Relations Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Tuesday decisions will be taken only after an investigation into the matter had been done.

"At the moment there have been no complaints to the government of India about the Indian High Commissioner (Virendra Gupta).

"We are awaiting the findings of that commission," he told reporters in Pretoria.

"Depending on the findings of the commission, we will see what decisions will be taken," he said.

Virendra Gupta is not related to the wealthy Gupta family, which chartered the plane to carry guests to South Africa for a family wedding at Sun City, in North West.

The Guptas own The New Age newspaper and Sahara Computers.

Government says neither the international relations and co-operation department nor the presidency granted executive authority for the aircraft to land at the base.

News of the aircraft landing at a national key point drew an outcry from political parties and organisations including the ANC, DA, IFP, Cosatu, and the SA Communist Party.

Government suspended five high-ranking officials and military personnel over the unauthorised landing.

They were: the Chief of State Protocol ambassador Bruce Koloane; SA Air Force command post Brigadier General L Lombard; Air Force Base Brigadier General TS Madumane; Movement Control Officer Lieutenant Colonel C Anderson; and Gauteng deputy provincial police commissioner Major General Phumza Gela.

In addition, the Tshwane metro police department suspended eight officers for allegedly escorting and providing unofficial security to Gupta wedding guests.

At the time, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said government had no record of a note verbale - an unsigned diplomatic communication prepared in the third person - from the high commission notifying the international relations department of a visiting delegation requiring diplomatic help, aircraft clearance, and landing rights.

Ebrahim said contrary to media reports, the Gupta family had not made applications for diplomatic passports.

"We have not dealt with that issue. The policy is very clear: diplomatic passports are only issued to government officials on official visits," he said.

"There is no practice of an ordinary citizen applying for a diplomatic passport.

"No diplomatic passport is given to anyone who is not part of government."

The Sunday Times reported that the Gupta family had made several "outrageous demands", including access to diplomatic passports.

Read more on:    ebrahim ebrahim  |  india  |  gupta wedding  |  gupta jet

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