Gupta jet at Waterkloof an 'invasion'

2013-05-02 20:34

(Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - The ANC Youth League on Thursday described the controversial landing of a Gupta family aircraft at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria as an "invasion of the country".

It joined a chorus of political parties and organisations which condemned what has been dubbed "Guptagate".

"We seek answers from the ANC-led government on how it is that national security was breached in such a callous manner, disrespecting the people and laws of our country," the league said in a statement.

The ANCYL commended President Jacob Zuma for not attending the wedding.

"We call upon all progressive South Africans, particularly ANC leaders and deployees in government who were invited to the wedding to follow President Zuma's example, as their attendance will be viewed as condoning this security breach."

The league said this was a case of gross negligence and misconduct. Those responsible should be exposed, dismissed, arrested and prosecuted.

"We join the African National Congress in calling for an explanation on this matter and for heads to roll for those who allowed that plane to land at our military base, a national key point."

Earlier on Thursday, it emerged that government remained in the dark over who allowed the chartered jet to land at the base.

Those angered included the ANC, DA, IFP, Cosatu, and SA Communist Party.

They called it an abuse of state resources which put the country at risk. The wealthy and politically-connected Gupta family landed wedding guests at the base on Tuesday morning.

Briefing journalists on the fortnightly Cabinet meeting, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said high-level investigations into the matter were underway. The inquiries -- by the departments of international relations and defence, and the SA Revenue Service (Sars) - would seek to find whether diplomatic privilege had been abused.

Several government departments had denied giving clearance for the jet to land at the base.

Chabane said he was not aware of dignitaries aboard the plane and whether a police escort was provided from the base to the wedding venue, Sun City, North West.

"I'm not aware of the reason why the escort was provided... escorts are provided for soccer teams," he said.

On reports that the wedding guests from India were in the country illegally, Chabane said the group would have had to show they had visas.

The guests, however, had avoided paying customs duties.

Sars was not told of guests arriving at the base, meaning no customs officials were sent there, spokesperson Adrian Lackay said.

Reports suggest invited guests to the multi-million-rand affair included President Jacob Zuma, government ministers, Indian ministers and other dignitaries.

Zuma would not be attending as he was travelling to Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo, ahead of an international meeting to discuss matters in the Central African Republic.

Chabane said he would also not be attending the Gupta nuptials.

Asked about the attendance of South African government ministers at the wedding and whether this was connected to the plane arriving at Waterkloof, Chabane said: "I would say many people received invites to attend, and I don't think it has a direct line... [to] a minister attending and the events which surround the plane [landing] at Waterkloof."

Earlier on Thursday the international relations department said the Chief of State Protocol, ambassador Bruce Koloane, had been placed on suspension while it conducted its investigation into the use of the base.

The Gupta family, which owns The New Age newspaper and Sahara, is celebrating the wedding of Vega Gupta, 23, to Indian-born Aakash Jahajgarhia.

- SAPA

Read more on:    ancyl  |  sandf  |  jacob zuma  |  gupta wedding
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