WATCH: Gupta wedding in the spotlight at state capture inquiry

Former transport minister Ben Martins testified for about an hour. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Former transport minister Ben Martins told the state capture inquiry that he was never formally informed about the Gupta plane landing at Waterkloof Air Force Base.

In 2013, the family’s private plane landed at Waterkloof carrying about 200 guests who were to attend a lavish wedding at Sun City.

The landing was said to be the beginning of the public’s exposure to state capture.

Martins met the Guptas several times but insists his relationship with the controversial family was purely professional.

The inquiry also heard that months before the Gupta's wedding guests touched down at Waterkloof, Rajesh "Tony" Gupta was in talks about the private jet landing at OR Tambo International Airport.

Martins and then head of State Protocol, Bruce Koloane was present at that meeting.

READ: Gupta wedding planners fined for open defecation, littering

Martin also told the Zondo Commission that it was unreasonable for the Guptas to request a welcoming party for wedding guests at the airport because he had no power to grant the request.

"OR Tambo Airport being such a busy airport, it wouldn't be possible and it wouldn't be feasible to have a welcoming ceremony and I even mentioned that I wasn't aware of anybody else having afforded that opportunity,” said Martins who was testifying at the state capture inquiry.

“Normally ministers when they get out of the plane, they're being escorted immediately from where they disembark by cars to wherever they're going.

“The decision was that  I could not grant that permission. I did not have the authority to do so."

Martins said former president Jacob Zuma never instructed him to help the Guptas land at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

Source
eNCA