Zuma's Guptagate tie not true, says presidency

President Jacob Zuma. (Reuters)

President Jacob Zuma. (Reuters)

The presidency on Thursday dismissed allegations that President Jacob Zuma could be implicated in the Guptagate scandal as hearsay.

"While it would not be appropriate to discuss matters that are being addressed at the tribunal, we wish to state categorically that there is no truth to the allegation," spokesperson Mac Maharaj said.

Beeld reported on Thursday that South African National Defence Force members facing a military court on charges relating to the landing of the Gupta plane had implicated Zuma in sworn affidavits.

"On or about 17 April 2013, Mr [Bruce] Koloane phoned me and he informed me that he had returned from the president and that the president wanted to know 'if everything is still on track for the flight'," read an excerpt of the affidavit by Lieutenant Colonel Christine Anderson.

"I informed him [Koloane] that we were awaiting the overflight clearance and once this was received, we would be able to finalise the movements of the passengers."

Maharaj said of the allegation: "It is not based on fact, it is based on hearsay".

"This is an old allegation being recycled before a military tribunal that is currently in session."

'Number One'
Anderson (59) also confirmed that Zuma was the "Number One", referred to in a report on Guptagate by the justice department.

"Number One is the president of the Republic of South Africa. For safety reasons we never refer to the president in phone conversations," said Anderson.

She is one of five members of the South African National Defence Force who have been charged before a military court in connection with the landing of a private aircraft at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in April.

Anderson has been suspended from her job for her role in the unlawful landing of the Gupta family's chartered jet at Waterkloof Air Force Base on April 30.

A chartered commercial aircraft, Jet Airways flight JAI 9900 from India, ferrying more than 200 guests for the wedding of Vega Gupta (23) Aakash Jahajgarhia, landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in April.

The passengers were then transported, either by light aircraft, helicopter or in police-escorted vehicles, to attend the lavish ceremony at Sun City's Palace of the Lost City in North West.

The landing sparked widespread criticism and several investigations were launched.

A government investigation exonerated Zuma and his ministers, and found that the landing was the result of "collusion by officials". – Sapa, additional reporting by Glynnis Underhill


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