SANDF has denied granting permission to the Gupta wedding entourage over the use of AFB Waterkloof landing facility, contradicting an earlier statement by the Department of International Relations.
SANDU (South African National Defence Union) said in a statement on Wednesday: “The Department of Defence was completely disregarded in the permission being granted and its power over usage of a major military facility usurped without its consent or knowledge.”
The department emphasised its concern at the decision as it “implies total absence of military control and security over our airspace and military landing facilities”.
The SANDU statement clarified that the use of AFB Waterkloof by the Guptas could not have occurred without the active participation of military personal and their command structure, including air traffic controllers, stationed at the facility and that it was possible that “powers outside the military sphere of command” were responsible.
In the statement SANDU condemned the manner in which the situation has been handled by both departments, branding it "unacceptable and farcical."
“Either someone within government structures is riding roughshod over military command and control or the ministry of Defence is misleading the public by either being afraid to admit same, or by simply falsely denying that it had been complicit in the landing permission being granted.”
The statement continued to say that the use of a military facility for private reasons constitutes an abuse of military equipment and facilities and is a criminal offence under the Military Discipline Code and lambasted the embarrassing position the Gupta situation has placed South Africa in.
“The fact is that this country is in the precarious and embarrassing position that its authorities are in complete confusion as to who gave permission for the usage of the largest and strategically one of the most important military facilities of South Africa. Clearly leadership is severely lacking.”