Parties take aim at Zuma over 'Guptagate'

2013-05-22 16:37
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Cape Town - Opposition parties placed the blame for "Guptagate" squarely on President Jacob Zuma in a parliamentary debate on the issue on Wednesday.

He should pay for his role in Guptagate at next year's election, they said.

Democratic Alliance defence spokesperson David Maynier argued Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula should be fired for failing to inform senior officials that she had refused the Gupta family use of Waterkloof Air Force Base.

But, he added, "The root cause of the problem, which led to 'Guptagate', is President Jacob Zuma."

Maynier charged that Zuma's friendships with the Shaik, Reddy, and Gupta families had created "the culture of undue influence" highlighted in the government probe into last month's incident at Waterkloof, which exasperated even the ruling party.

"In the end, if we really want to ensure that something like this never happens again, then we have to come together in our thousands, we have to come together in our tens of thousands, we have to come together in our millions and - together - 'fire' President Jacob Zuma on election day in 2014."

The ruling African National Congress said the attack on Zuma - who was absent from the National Assembly - was glib electioneering that ignored the outcome of the probe into the scandal.

"Members of the opposition are consumed by their hatred of President Jacob Zuma and unable to look objectively, rationally at an issue if it provides an opportunity to throw stones at our president," Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said.

"They call the report a cover-up; that is their normal response to a truth they do not like," she added.

"If the report does not find Zuma guilty, they are unable to accept it."

Government released the full 30-page report by a team of directors-general into the incident shortly before the start of the debate in the Assembly.

The investigation, completed in seven days, found that Chief of State Protocol Bruce Koloane, and a senior official at Waterkloof had acted in contravention of diplomatic protocols, but exonerated the executive.

A privately chartered plane by the Gupta family landed at the air base on 30 April with 270 guests on board, who were to attend the wedding of Vega Gupta in Sun City.

- SAPA
Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  david maynier  |  nosiviwe mapisa-nqakula  |  bruce koloane  |  jacob zuma  |  naledi pandor  |  gupta jet  |  parliament 2013  |  politics
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