Mthethwa: Early reports of possible transgressions

2013-05-02 16:44
Nathi Mthethwa (Picture: Beeld)

Nathi Mthethwa (Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Preliminary reports indicate possible transgressions by police officials in the deployment of resources to the Gupta wedding, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Thursday.

"[There was also] possible abuse of SA Police Service (SAPS) blue lights," he said in a statement.

"[There were] unconfirmed reports indicating that some of the vehicles used in transporting guests were not SAPS vehicles but private vehicles which were fitted with police blue lights."

Mthethwa said he "noted" developments that police VIP protection resources were utilised in transporting some guests from Waterkloof to Sun City.

The minister instructed national police commissioner Riah Phiyega to investigate the matter.

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

News of the aircraft landing angered political parties and organisations including the ANC, DA, IFP, Cosatu, and the SA Communist Party.

The Times newspaper reported earlier in the day that 20 flying squad members, 10 flying squad cars and 40 counter-assault and VIP protection officers escorted the wedding guests, who left the base in a convoy of white Range Rovers.

According to the newspaper, at least 40 counter-assault and VIP protection policemen were ordered to escort five trucks - two of them containing gifts for the bridal couple and dignitaries - from OR Tambo Airport to Sun City.

Mthethwa said moonlighting by police officers might have been a problem as private security firms hired individuals to provide security at the event.

Mthethwa said police were informed of the event, and learnt that local and international dignitaries and ministers had been invited.

"According to the information provided, guests were to fly into the country using both commercial and chartered flights as well as travel by road from Gauteng to Sun City."

He said the attendance of various high level dignitaries fell within the provisions of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act.

The Act requires the event organiser to apply or provide police with relevant information, and comply with certain requirements relating to the safety and security of people and properties.

Earlier, 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 out whether diplomatic privilege had been abused.

Several government departments had denied giving clearance for the jet to land at 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, at Sun City in the North West.

Read more on:    police  |  sars  |  nathi mthethwa  |  gupta wedding  |  gupta jet

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