Gupta Waterkloof landing: Nkoana-Mashabane says she only became aware when she saw it on TV

2019-11-21 14:27
Former international relations and cooperation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane  (The Presidency)

Former international relations and cooperation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane (The Presidency)

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Former international relations and cooperation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has told the state capture inquiry that she only became aware of the Gupta's Waterkloof landing in 2013 when it was reported on television. 

Nkoana-Mashabane, who is now the Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, told the commission, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, on Thursday, that at first she was not worried because it had nothing to do with her department.

She said she later heard that then-chief of state protocol Bruce Koloane was present in the Waterkloof area, and she had wanted to understand what he was doing there.

Nkoana-Mashabane said she called former director general of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Jerry Matjila, Koloane and the head of human resources.

"We wanted to understand who sent him [Koloane] to Waterkloof. He said, no, it had nothing to do with the department, he had not been sent and it was an oversight.

"I said, 'I am not happy'. I then instructed the director general that he [Koloane] must face a disciplinary process, which ensued," she said.

'He got the punishment that he got'

She said her department would have been involved if the trip was a diplomatic mission.

The department instituted disciplinary action against Koloane, who pleaded guilty to three charges. He was put on suspension for two months and given a final written warning.

"He has been owning up, and not saying how did he get to do this. He went through the disciplinary process, he opened up and again, he owned up and that is when he got sanctions that I had presented in my affidavit, and he got the punishment that he got," she said.

During his testimony before the commission in July, Koloane admitted that, in his role as former chief of state protocol, he had abused the powers of his office in order to facilitate the Gupta's Waterkloof landing.

He also admitted he had "name dropped" to pressure officials to expedite the processing of the flight clearance request.

But despite being censured for his role in the debacle, he was appointed to the cushy ambassadorial post by former president Jacob Zuma.

Koloane resigned as ambassador after being recalled by Dirco over his testimony at the state capture commission.

The Gupta family landed a commercial aircraft at the air force base without permission back in 2013. It carried about 200 guests who were invited to attend the family's lavish wedding at Sun City.

In 2017, News24 reported further details of Koloane's close ties to the Guptas and that he was securing business deals for the brothers in the Netherlands.

This is according to the #GuptaLeaks and a string of emails between Koloane, the Guptas and their associates.

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