The judicial commission of inquiry into state capture is hearing testimony from SA ambassador to the Netherlands, Bruce Koloane, who was chief of state protocol at the time of the Guptas’ plane landing at Waterkloof Air Force Base.
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Matjila: “So the charges, I want to presume, were read to ambassador Koloane, he went to see them and on the 27th of May, ambassador Koloane was served with notice of disciplinary hearing, and he acknowledged receipt thereof. And then there were three charges that were laid.”
Matjila: “After the processes by both, I think they met for the hearing on the 11th, and by 2 July, then the employee – in this case ambassador Koloane – pleaded guilty to the charges.”
Matjila: “And again, the parties were given ample opportunity to present mitigating factors before the chairperson could issue the sanctions. I think thereafter, on the 29th of July, 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.”
State capture inquiry: Could Bruce Koloane’s testimony life the lid on state capture?
When South Africa’s defence force allowed a commercial aircraft to breach national protocol and land at the Waterkloof air force base, the country was left vulnerable.
A national security threat, the infamous Gupta Waterkloof landing of 2013, went down in the country’s history books as the palpable “launch” of state capture.
The aircraft carried more than 200 guests of the Guptas who were to attend the family’s infamous Sun City wedding.
On Monday, the only person held responsible for the incident, Bruce Koloane (now SA’s ambassador to the Netherlands) is expected to take the stand at the state capture commission of inquiry.
His testimony will be key to unfolding what really happened on that day and, if not its links to former president Jacob Zuma, then certainly its links to the Gupta family.
Waterkloof landing: Promotion was always on the cards for Ntshisi despite security breach
The chief of South African Air Force, Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang told the commission of inquiry into state capture on Thursday that despite Major Thabo Ntshisi being implicated in the infamous Gupta Waterkloof landing, he was always going to be promoted.
Ntshisi, among others, was named as one of the people responsible in the justice, crime prevention and security (JCPS) cluster report into the 2013 Gupta Waterkloof landing. The breach saw a commercial aircraft landing at the Waterkloof military base. It carried more than 200 guests who attended the infamous Gupta wedding in Sun City.
Only VIPs and VVIPs are allowed to land at the base.
Waterkloof landing: Officials should have said ‘no, this is not on’ – top official
While witnesses at the state capture inquiry have been flip-flopping around whether they received a proper, or any, note-verbale, which would have seemingly allowed the Guptas to land their commercial aircraft at Waterkloof military base, a senior department official has thrown this argument out the window.
Lieutenant General Derrick Mbuyiselo Mgwebi, who is the acting director general of the military veterans department, was the president of the justice, crime prevention and security board of inquiry into the 2013 Gupta Waterkloof landing. The aircraft had carried about 200 guests who attended the infamous Gupta wedding at Sun City.
Testifying on Thursday about the processes that should have been followed in granting clearance for the aircraft, Mgwebi pointed out that Lieutenant Colonel Christine Anderson, South African Ambassador to the Netherlands Bruce Koloane who was the former head of state protocol during the landing, and Major Thabo Ntshisi should have acted before the plane even landed.
Direct order from state protocol chief prompted Gupta’s Waterkloof landing, Zondo commission hears
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s senior foreign affairs assistant, William Matjila, has told the commission of inquiry into state capture that he started realising that there were irregularities in the Gupta’s Waterkloof landing of 2013 when he did not receive the required note verbale – or diplomatic correspondence.
Matjila, who testified on Thursday morning at the inquiry, said he was asked to process a request from “the Indian delegation” – understood to be the Indian High Commission – and went ahead with the request after receiving “confirmation” from then-chief of state protocol Bruce Koloane.
Koloane was the only person who faced repercussions for his role in allowing the landing, despite the justice, crime prevention and security (JCPS) cluster investigation implicating a range of people. He was later made ambassador to the Netherlands, a position he still holds.
Matjila said in his testimony that, without a note verbale, there were no details of the flight available, and that no plane is allowed to land at the military base. A note verbale is a diplomatic correspondence written in third person, but unsigned.
Gupta wedding: ‘I was not satisfied with the clearance for the Waterkloof landing’ – Major Thabo Ntshisi
Only three people are allowed to land an aircraft at Waterkloof military base – the president, deputy president or any person who is sent by the president on government duty.
This is according to Major Thabo Ntshisi who works at the military base’s command post.
Ntshisi was testifying before the commission of inquiry into state capture about the controversial 2013 Gupta Waterkloof landing.
The incident saw commercial aircraft, chartered by the Guptas, landing at the base. They were filled with about 200 guests who attended a lavish wedding at Sun City in the North West.