We didn't give Waterkloof permission, SANDF insists

2013-04-30 21:37
Guests arrive at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria for the wedding of Vega Gupta. (Barry Bateman, Twitter)

Guests arrive at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria for the wedding of Vega Gupta. (Barry Bateman, Twitter)

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Cape Town - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) reiterated on Tuesday that it was not aware of any permission granted for the Gupta family to use the Waterkloof Air Force Base, amid confusion over the affair.

Spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini emphatically stated to News24 that the SANDF's position on the matter remained unchanged.

"As far as I know, no permission has been granted to a private citizen to use the base. It is a military base and a national key point used by government and its guests," he had said earlier.

But later on Tuesday, eNCA, citing a government statement released by the department of international relations (Dirco), reported that the SANDF had backtracked on the earlier statements.

The eNCA report said that statement confirms that a request was received from the Indian High Commission in Pretoria to secure the Waterkloof Air Base for the landing of planes transporting Indian government ministers, accompanied by a delegation which included private citizens.

The statement reportedly added that the request was evaluated "in accordance with practices and protocols relating to courtesies accorded to visiting high level representatives of foreign states and their delegations".

Despite the statement being released by Dirco, the statement bore the name of the defence department's Dlamini, according to the report.

But, according to eNCA, a defence official distanced the department from the Dirco statement, in spite of its head of communications being listed as the contact person.

In turn, a Dirco official reportedly responded to eNCA via SMS saying, "They granted approval. That's a fact."

Dlamini refused to be drawn into commenting on the series of events, when approached by News24.
Read more on:    sandf  |  gupta wedding  |  military  |  gupta jet

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