/ 2 September 2013

Guptagate: Union urges court to subpoena Zuma

From left
From left

A Waterkloof Air Force Base officer plans to call President Jacob Zuma to testify in a military court on the Gupta plane landing scandal, the trade union said on Monday.

"President Jacob Zuma has not been called to testify although he seems to be the central figure [in the scandal] … he must come and answer," South African National Defence Union national secretary Pikkie Greeff said.

"If he's not on the state's witness list then as the defence team we need the court to subpoena him."

This would be done in terms of the Military Discipline Supplementary Measures Act.

Lieutenant Colonel Christine Anderson, who was implicated in a report by the task team appointed to probe the landing, and two other air-force members appeared in the military court on August 30. They would appear again on September 13.

Greeff said the decision to subpoena Zuma would probably be taken after the September 13 appearance.

"We haven't seen the charge sheet yet. We might ask for further particulars," said Greef.

The full report on the landing of the plane was released in May by the justice, crime prevention, and security cluster of ministries.

Compulsory leave
It stated that a collusion of officials resulted in the irregular clearance of the plane for landing at the base.

It found that the correct clearance procedures for landing were followed, but were based on "false pretences, as a result of the manipulation of the process" by the Gupta family, individuals in the Indian high commission, chief of state protocol ambassador Bruce Koloane, and Anderson.

It found that the actions taken by Koloane and Anderson were a serious dereliction of duty.

Anderson was found to have inverted command and control, and unduly influenced the processing of the clearance. She was put on compulsory leave.

Last week, Anderson lodged a complaint against the task team with public protector Thuli Madonsela.

In May, Greeff said the findings against Anderson – who was the base's officer commanding movement control – were not objectively reached.

He said the report's findings had been made even though Anderson was not formally involved in the investigation.

Widespread criticism
Madonsela's office confirmed that she was investigating the complaint.

On April 29, a plane chartered by the Gupta family, carrying 270 guests, landed at Waterkloof.

The guests were attending the wedding of Vega Gupta, and Indian-born Aakash Jahajgarhia at Sun City. The landing sparked widespread criticism.

Government then initiated a probe into the matter and a possible breach of diplomatic protocol. – Sapa