Former Dirco DG tells state capture inquiry he was unaware of Gupta aircraft landing

2019-07-08 17:50
Jerry Matjila. (File, Netwerk24)

Jerry Matjila. (File, Netwerk24)

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Former department of international relations and cooperation director-general Jerry Matjila says he became aware of the Gupta Waterkloof air for base landing only after the family's plane had touched down in April 2013. 

Matjila, who is now the South African Ambassador to the United Nations, was testifying before the commission of inquiry into state capture headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. 

He told the commission he was unaware of the landing and no formal diplomatic engagements were concluded prior to the landing. 

He added he had contacted the Indian high commissioner, a Mr Gupta who is not related to the Gupta family, in a bid to establish whether or not there were Indian ministers on board the flight.

Matjila said Gupta had told him they were not national ministers - they were state ministers who are equivalent to local MECs.

He added the distinction was important to establish whether a notification should have been issued and when it should have been issued.

Matjila said a task team was established to investigate the Waterkloof landing and following the investigations, South African Ambassador to the Netherlands Bruce Koloane was identified as the person who should face disciplinary proceedings.

He added he had asked the deputy director-general of human resources at the time to "trigger" disciplinary processes, saying he wanted to give colleagues the opportunity to appear before a panel, and to respond.

Koloane was eventually served with a notice to appear before a disciplinary hearing, and he acknowledged receipt thereof, Matjila said. 

"And then there were three charges that were laid ... in this case Ambassador Koloane pleaded guilty to the charges."

He said the parties were given an opportunity to present mitigating factors before the chairperson could issue the sanctions. 

"I think thereafter, on July 29, the sanctions were issued, and pronounced - suspension without pay, for a period of two months, as an alternative for dismissal in terms of clause 2.7(4) ... of the handbook."

Matjila said a final written warning was also issued. 

But during his testimony on Monday afternoon, Koloane told Zondo that he was not happy with the manner in which he was suspended.

Koloane said post the landing, then-international relations and cooperation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane suspended him so that "I would not interfere or tamper with witnesses".

"I wasn't happy with the manner that I was suspended because in terms of public service prescripts I was supposed to be given seven days to write back [and] to tell her [the minister] why I didn't think I should be suspended, but that was not done." 

Koloane said he took the suspension letter, although he believed his rights were being "violated". 

Read more on:    bruce koloane  |  gupta wedding
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