Guptagate latest: Defence Department says no permission granted

South Africa
Department of Defence spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga says the Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was just as surprised as everyone else to hear about the Gupta's commercial plane landing at Waterkloof Airforce Base. eNCA

Pretoria - The Department of Defense has begun an investigation into how the Gupta wedding plane was allowed to land at South Africa's most strategically important Air Force Base, Waterkloof.

204 wedding guests jetted in on a privately chartered jet on Tuesday morning.

They landed at Waterkloof, and were whisked away in luxury cars, escorted by a blue light convoy.

Yet, by Tuesday afternoon, various government departments were unable to confirm who had granted permission for this, with contradictions and denials the order of the day.

The Department of Defense has now unequivocally denied that it granted permission for the plane to land.

Speaking live on eNCA, Sonwabo Mbananga said they need to get to the bottom of how this could have happened

"We do not understand how an aircraft would be allowed to land at an airforce base.... especially a base that is a critical point in the matrix of our national security."

Mbananga added It was not normal to receive private persons at an airforce base, especially ones who were not expected.

He told eNCA, that the defense ministry "could never have received a request to land", and at any rate, would never have acceded to such a request.

Mbananga says the Air Force will have to provide a detailed explanation as to what happened, but he would not speculate on when the investigation might be complete, or when the results would be released to the public.

The incident, and subsequent confusion around who granted permission for the plane to land has caused a national outcry, and prompted the ruling party to demand that heads roll.

 

-eNCA

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