I LIED, I WANTED TO LOOK GOOD

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I LIED, I WANTED TO LOOK GOOD

BRUCE Koloane, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands, yesterday admitted to lying.He told the Zondo Commission that he used former president Jacob Zuma’s name to help the Guptas land their plane at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.The former chief of state protocol told the commission he lied when he told defence force officials that Zuma wanted him to help the Guptas with landing clearance.“I lied,” he said.He said he mentioned Zuma’s name to pressure the officials to speed up the process.Koloane said he did this to look good with the Indian High Commissioner, Virendra Gupta, who had approached him for help.“I name-dropped to merely push the officials who were supposed to process the clearance to do their job. It was purely name-dropping. “Neither the minister of transport nor minister of defence or president in any way communicated to me that I should deal with this matter,” he said.Koloane told officials that Zuma and former transport minister Ben Martins wanted to assist the Guptas. He said Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had no objections with the Guptas landing at the base.“I erred in using the names of Martins, Mapisa-Nqakula and the president,” said Koloane.He admitted he failed in his duties when he misrepresented the facts about the landing to defence force officials.Koloane said he had not apologised to Zuma for using his name in the saga.“I did not go back to him, out of shame. I could not look him in the eye and say: ‘I used your name wrongly’,” he told the commission.He said he would like to apologise to the former president.He told Zondo that there was nothing in it for him when he facilitated the landing except to satisfy the Indian commissioner.“I wanted to appear to be this effective guy who could get things done. I wanted to appease him because there was going to be a Brics meeting in the next few weeks.” On Monday Koloane attacked the report used to charge him, saying it was full of “factual inaccuracies”. Among the charges he faced was name-dropping and speaking directly to an official at the command post.He pleaded guilty to the charges.After hearing an audio recording between him and defence officials, he admitted he had abused the powers of his office.

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