The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s, statement confirming that the Jet Airways Airbus A300-200, transporting guests to Vega Gupta’s wedding at Sun City, landing and use of AFB Waterkloof was unauthorized, is extraordinary.
It confirms that virtually every rule in the book was broken in order to comply with the wishes of the Gupta family who had previously requested the use of AFB Waterkloof.
The Acting Director of the South African Civil Aviation Authority, Poppy Khoza, confirmed that she had not authorised the use of AFB Waterkloof for the landing of the Gupta’s Airbus.
In fact, she did not even receive a request to authorise the use of AFB Waterkloof for “civil aviation purposes” as is required by the Civil Aviation Authority Regulations.
However, while every rule in the book may have been broken, it is hard to believe that the Chief of State Protocol, Ambassador Vusi Koalane, together with senior military officers, acting on a request from the Indian High Commission, pulled off the landing of the Guptas’ Airbus without political authorisation.
The “rogue officials” explanation is hard to believe and smacks of damage control.
We need to know how it is that the Gupta family was able to effectively hijack the state and secure landing rights and the use of AFB Waterkloof as well as protection from the SAPS VIP Unit.
We welcome the Minister’s announcement that there will be a full investigation. However, we need a separate full-scale parliamentary investigation by an ad hoc committee of Parliament to investigate what has become known as “Guptagate”.