Guptagate: Concerns about suspended official

South Africa
Cabinet ministers say they’re not to blame for the national security breach at Waterkloof Air Force Base. They’re adamant that no member of the executive granted permission for the plane carrying guests of the Gupta family to land. eNCA

Johannesburg - The South African National Defence Union (SANDU) took particular issue with the fact that one of the suspended members, Lieutenant Colonel C Anderson, is merely a Movements Officer at Waterkloof Air Force Base.

"She could not in any conceivable way have played any part in the seeming unlawful permission of the landing of the infamous Gupta guests plane.
 
"The sole duties of the officer in question have absolutely nothing to do with authorisation of any form of air traffic movement whatsoever," the union said, adding that her main function is "facilitating the directing of embarking and disembarking of passengers and crew to the designated areas within the base".
 
"She does this under orders from her higher command structures. She has no executive powers of any nature.

"To make matters worse, the officer in question had today learned of her suspension through the media and has not yet even been formally informed of same," the union's statement released after the JCPS press briefing said.

Addressing the media on Friday, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said “government would like to assure the South African public that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that we get to the bottom of this matter, and hold all those responsible for bringing our country into disrepute - whoever they are and whatever position they hold.”

Radebe announced that four officials had been suspended in connection with the Guptagate debacle.

The suspended officials are:

  • Officer Commanding Air Force Command post: Brigadier General L Lombard
  • Officer Commanding Air Force Base: Brigadier General TS Madumane 
  • Movement Control Officer: Lieutenant Colonel C Anderson and
  • Major General Gela: SAPS Operational Response Services Gauteng Province

Chief of State Protocol, Ambassador Bruce Koloane was suspended earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance said the press conference was "an exercise in damage control designed to 'firewall' President Jacob Zuma and members of his Cabinet from the political fallout.

"The key message at the press conference – which was repeated by virtually every minister present - was that 'no executive authority was granted for the plane to land.'

"The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has stated that she did not authorise the landing and, to her credit, in fact rejected an earlier request for the aircraft to land at AFB Waterkloof.
 
 "However, it is hard to believe that not one minister or deputy-minister in six departments knew anything about the request for the Guptas’ jet to land at AFB Waterkloof," the party said in a statement.

 

 

 

-eNCA

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