State capture: 'I learnt of the Gupta plane landing on television'
State capture-implicated former head of state protocol Bruce Koloane had few or no answers as to how the Gupta family landed a private aircraft at Pretoria's restricted Waterkloof Air Force base in 2013.
This is according to minister in the presidency for women, youth and people with disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who testified at the state capture inquiry on Thursday.
Nkoana-Mashabane was international relations minister in April 2013 when a private plane carrying about 200 guests to the wedding of Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia was allowed to land at Waterkloof. Blue light convoys whisked the guests off to Sun City.
Koloane testified to the commission in July this year and assumed most of the responsibility for the incident.
This led to him resigning as SA's ambassador to the Netherlands soon after his testimony.
Nkoana-Mashabane said she heard about the landing via the media.
“I got to know of the landing of the aircraft on television. I immediately called [then Dirco director-general] Jerry Matjila and I wanted to understand how did we get involved in this.
“When the news broke, a private aircraft had landed in a secure space for government. I wasn’t perturbed at first, because many such incidents happen without us. We only got involved if there was a diplomatic guest arriving. At first I wasn’t really worried, because we wouldn’t be involved,” she told the commission.
“We then heard that the chief of state protocol [Koloane] was present in the vicinity. That’s when I wanted to understand what was he doing there. That’s when I called [Matjila] and [Koloane] to find out ... We wanted to understand who sent him to Waterkloof.”
But Koloane, who was suspended after the incident, is said to have had few to no answers for Nkoana-Mashabane.
“He (Koloane) said it had nothing to do with the department, it was an oversight. I said I’m not happy. I then instructed Koloane that he had to face a disciplinary process, which ensued. That’s when he got sanctions that I had presented in my affidavit, and he got to get the punishment he got,” she said.
“I asked what task were you performing as chief of protocol. He could not respond. He said it was an oversight.”
Nkoana-Mashabane's testimony is continuing.