Guptagate: Politicians are responsible – Agang

2013-05-23 11:12

Public servants should not be scapegoats for the politicians who were ultimately responsible for the irregular clearance and landing of a privately chartered plane at Air Force Base Waterkloof, Agang SA has said.

“We note with interest the government’s report into the failures of governance that led to the landing of the Gupta family’s aircraft at Waterkloof Air Force Base,” Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele said today in a statement.

“The report confirms that ‘a culture of undue influence, underpinned by poor ethical conduct and a lack of professionalism’ have allowed the manipulation of public servants by powerful, politically connected individuals.”

The full report on the landing of the plane at Waterkloof Air Force Base was released yesterday by the justice, crime prevention, and security cluster of ministries.

On April 29, a plane chartered by the Gupta family guests landed at Waterkloof. On board were 270 guests at the wedding of Vega Gupta (23) and Indian-born Aakash Jahajgarhia at Sun City. The landing sparked widespread criticism.

The government then initiated a probe into the landing and a possible breach of diplomatic protocol.

Mamphele said blaming public servants should not absolve politicians from blame for what she referred to as a “blatant abuse of power”.

“This embarrassing episode is yet another example of how a culture of impunity across government allows for the abuses of our state resources by both politicians and private interests,” she said.

“Corruption of this kind will continue unless we strengthen governance and restore power to the people by making politicians accountable to the citizens they are supposed to serve.”

She said this was why Agang SA had launched a petition calling for electoral reform, so voters could choose and hold to account the person who represented their local area.

“To strengthen governance, we are saying that government officials and their families should also not be able to (do) business with government,” said Mamphele.

“A new law should be introduced to reward government employees who expose corruption.”

The report found that the correct clearance procedures for landing were followed, but that these were based on “false pretences, as a result of the manipulation of the process” by the Gupta family, individuals in the Indian High Commission, Chief of State Protocol Bruce Koloane, and Waterkloof’s officer commanding movement control Lieutenant colonel Christine Anderson.

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