President Zuma knew about Gupta landing at AFB Waterkloof – statement

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President Jacob Zuma, also Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), has been directly implicated, under oath, in Guptagate.

Afrikaans daily Beeld reports Lieutenant Colonel Christine Anderson, one of five SA Air force (SAAF) personnel appearing at a preliminary hearing where a decision will be taken on whether or not to charge them with offences under the military legal system, identified the President as “Number One”.

This was apparently during telephone conversations with Bruce Koloane, former head of State Protocol at the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, ahead of the arrival of a chartered jet at AFB Waterkloof in April this year.
“Number One is the President of the Republic of South Africa. For security reasons we never refer directly to the President during telephone conversations,” a portion of Anderson’s statement reads.

Previous investigations found Koloane on at least three occasions said he was executing orders from “Number One”.

Anderson’s statement is the first to reveal, in her own words, what happened in the lead-up to the arrival of the Airbus A330 at the Centurion air force base.

She said Koloane contacted her at the start of April to ask whether Waterkloof would be a suitable landing site for the aircraft, apparently carrying people for a “cultural event”.
“He also said there would be two ministers on board and that Number One was aware of the flight.”

Following this, a delegation from the Indian High Commission made arrangements with her to inspect facilities at AFB Waterkloof. She showed them the base and also informed them the instrument landing system was, at that time, undergoing repairs and not working.

Shortly after this Koloane again contacted her telephonically. “He told me he had just returned from the President who wanted to know if ‘everything was on track for the flight’. I said we were still waiting for the flight clearance and as soon as that was in hand, the flight could be finalised”.

The paper’s specialist defence and military writer Erika Gibson also reported that Koloane did not want to issue a “note verbale” to the Air Force Command Post about the arrival of the Gupta family chartered aircraft. This was because it could not be put down in writing that “the President had approved it”.

The hearing continues behind closed doors at the SANDF legal satellite office at AFB Zwartkop.