Waterkloof: Zuma, ministers not involved

2013-05-19 15:36
(Picture: Beeld)

(Picture: Beeld)

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet had no involvement in the landing of a privately chartered plane at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said on Sunday.

He said the Chief of State Protocol, ambassador Bruce Koloane, who was on compulsory leave, had given a statement explaining all the parties who were involved in the landing of a plane by the Gupta family at the base on April 29.

"That's why we are saying without any fear of contradiction, no minister was involved in this matter. The President was not involved in this matter," he said.

"In any event, the President is not involved in authorising the landing or not landing of an aircraft at [an] airforce [base]. It resolves squarely under the department of defence, especially the air force command there."

The plane, chartered by the Gupta family, carried 270 wedding guests.

Guests were attending the wedding of Vega Gupta, 23, and Indian-born Aakash Jahajgarhia at Sun City. The landing sparked widespread criticism.

Government had initiated a probe into a possible breach of diplomatic protocol. Radebe was delivering the preliminary findings of this investigation.

Name dropping

One of the findings was that the landing of a chartered commercial aircraft was a direct result of manipulation of processes and that names had been "dropped" in the course of events.

"Whose name was dropped? It was not a name, it was names. The minister of defence [Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula] sitting here, her name was dropped. The minister of transport [Ben Martins] his name was dropped. The president's name was dropped," Radebe said.

The relevant ministers were instructing their directors general to urgently act on the report's recommendations.

He said the government, led by the public service and administration department, should develop and implement a public service awareness campaign to discourage the "negative culture of name-dropping", where names of the executive were used improperly in the public sector.

"In addition, the definition of acts of misconduct should be amended across government to include name dropping as gross misconduct."

Affected departments were required to complete their own investigations as soon as possible and to ensure disciplinary action was taken where necessary.

Cases registered

Several cases had already been registered at the Sun City police station in the North West.

The charges were contravention of the Firearms Control Act, the National Road Traffic Act and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Act.

A case of contravening the SA Police Act was registered at Lyttleton police station in Gauteng.

Radebe said the aircraft was cleared for landing and the correct clearance procedures were followed.

However, this was based on false information and abuse of privileges, by a group who acted in common purpose.

These included Koloane, who acted in contravention of existing diplomatic protocols, and Waterkloof's officer commanding movement control, Lieutenant Colonel C Anderson.

Eight Tshwane metro police officers were also suspended for allegedly escorting and providing unofficial security to Gupta wedding guests, from Waterkloof to Sun City.

Radebe said he was not aware of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela conducting her own investigation into the matter.

The full report was expected to be made public during the course of next week.


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