Gupta saga raises concerns over security

2013-05-03 14:21
Guests arrive at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria for the wedding of Vega Gupta. (Picture: Beeld)

Guests arrive at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria for the wedding of Vega Gupta. (Picture: Beeld)

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Cape Town - All those responsible for the security breach at the Waterkloof Air Force Base will be punished, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said on Friday.

All those responsible for bringing the country into "disrepute" would be held accountable, "whoever they are, whatever positions they hold", Radebe told journalists in Pretoria and Cape Town.

Several suspensions and arrests were announced on Friday.

The affected officials are:

- Chief of state protocol: Ambassador Bruce Koloane;

- Officer commanding air force command post: Brigadier General L Lombard;

- Officer commanding air force base: Brigadier General TS Madumane;

- Movement control officer: Lieutenant Colonel C Anderson; and

- SA Police Service operational response services Gauteng province: Major General Phumza Gela.

In addition, two metro police officers and a reservist were arrested for working for a security company, which provided an escort from the base to the Gupta wedding venue in Sun City, North West.

Radebe said the private security company illegally fitted blue lights to vehicles with false number plates.

"The use of a marked SAPS vehicle is still under investigation," he added.

A preliminary probe had been done, but a full investigation by the directors general of the affected departments was underway.

The committee of DGs would report back to Cabinet within seven days.


The Gupta family chartered jet was moved off the Waterkloof Air Force Base on Thursday afternoon, after widespread outrage about private use of a military facility.

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) said the plane flew to nearby commercial OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

The wealthy and politically-connected Gupta family landed wedding guests at the base - a national key point - on Tuesday morning.

Radebe said the landing had not been cleared by the proper authorities.

"Government is gravely concerned at this violation of the security protocol and total disregard of established practice for clearing the landing of [an] aircraft in a military facility that is of strategic importance to the country."

No notification

Government had no record of a note from the Indian High Commission, notifying the department of international relations of a visiting delegation requiring diplomatic assistance, aircraft clearance, and landing rights.

"The defence attach of the Indian High Commission sent a request for aircraft clearance directly to the Air Force Command Unit within the SANDF on 4 April," he said.

"The SA Air Force consulted with the Office of State Protocol at [the department] and facilitated the clearance of the aircraft without informing the chief of the SANDF."

Radebe also revealed the Jet Airways Airbus A330 did not have a foreign operator permit.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) would impose a penalty on the operator of the A330 for violation of the Civil Aviation Regulations.

"The government would like to assure the South African public that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that we get to the bottom of this matter, and hold all those responsible for bringing our country into disrepute, whoever they are and whatever position they hold.

"We want to assure the South African public that we will do all in our power to strengthen security protocols and to ensure adherence to them," Radebe said.

Read more on:    sacaa  |  sandf  |  jeff radebe  |  gupta jet  |  gupta wedding

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