Zuma denies Guptagate involvement

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday denied claims by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) officials that he was involved in the "Guptagate" scandal.

"No, I have no prior knowledge, involvement or communication relating to the landing of a private plane at AFB [Air Force Base] Waterkloof," he said while answering questions in the National Assembly.

"The president is neither directly or indirectly involved in the authorisation of civilian aircraft landing at airports such as AFB Waterkloof."

However, opposition party MPs, including DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, pressed the president for more answers.

"Mr Speaker, a senior official in the SANDF stated under oath that a call was received from Mr Bruce Koloane informing her the president wanted to know and I quote 'if everything is still on track for the flight'," Mazibuko said.

"If the answer is that he did not know about the landing, can the president explain to this House how it could possibly be the case in light of the fact that the landing at Waterkloof Air Force Base included three fixed-wing aircraft, seven helicopters, 88 vehicles and 490 personnel, 194 of whom were employees of the state?" she asked.

Zuma said it was not his duty to know who landed at the country's airports.

"There are so many that land... why should the president know about these numbers? I have given the answer. I had no knowledge. I know nothing about it," Zuma said.

"I can't answer on behalf of an official in some military tribunal, that's not my business," he said.

Military tribunal

Two SANDF officials have testified at a military tribunal that Koloane, former chief of state protocol, had indicated to them that Zuma was behind the irregular landing of the plane.

The chartered commercial aircraft, Jet Airways flight JAI 9900 from India, ferrying more than 200 guests for the wedding of Vega Gupta, 23, and Indian-born Aakash Jahajgarhia, landed at the base in April.

The passengers were then transported, either by light aircraft, helicopter, or in police-escorted vehicles, to attend the lavish ceremony at Sun City's Palace of the Lost City in North West.

The landing sparked widespread criticism and several investigations were launched.

A government investigation exonerated Zuma and his ministers, and found that the landing was the result of collusion and name dropping by officials.

DA MP David Maynier said the real issue was Zuma's relationship with the Gupta family.

"When the Guptas say jump, the Zumas say how high," Maynier said.

Zuma responded: "I've answered the question. Maybe he [Maynier] jumps higher than others.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Matric results are out! Are you happy with your child's result?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, the pandemic really messed up their ability to focus
33% - 615 votes
Yes, they did well given the circumstances
67% - 1255 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.24
+0.0%
Rand - Pound
20.58
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.21
+0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.90
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.2%
Gold
1,844.11
-0.2%
Silver
23.69
-0.5%
Palladium
2,206.50
+0.2%
Platinum
1,031.50
+0.2%
Brent Crude
88.20
+2.2%
Top 40
66,368
+0.8%
All Share
72,814
+0.7%
Resource 10
73,580
+1.0%
Industrial 25
90,458
+0.7%
Financial 15
14,859
+0.4%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE