Charges against two Guptagate accused dropped

All charges against Lieutenant Colonel Stephan van Zyl and Lieutenant Colonel Christine Anderson have been withdrawn, the South African National Defence Union (Sandu) said on Tuesday.

“The military prosecuting authorities have today informed the attorneys of indicted Air Force officers in the Guptagate matter, that all charges are forthwith withdrawn and, therefore, no prosecution will commence against them,” National Secretary Pikkie Greeff said in a statement.

Anderson and Van Zyl were accused of being involved in the landing of a private jet carrying guests to a wedding for wealthy business family the Guptas, at the Waterkloof Air Force base in Tshwane.

“Sandu confirms that both officers have already provided instructions to the Sandu legal team to immediately institute civil law suits against all the state organs which were involved in implicating them.”

The legal team had earlier on Tuesday “demanded” that Van Zyl be reinstated.

The Department of Defence (DOD) said in a media statement that it “can confirm that all charges related to the two officers on their alleged involvement in the landing of a private jet at Air Force Base Waterkloof, have been withdrawn”.

The DOD is awaiting a full report from the director of military prosecutions before any further comment.

Contravening code 
Colonel Nomsa Khumalo, Lieutenant Colonel Christo Van Zyl, Lieutenant Colonel Christine Anderson, and Warrant Officer Thabo Ntshisi appeared in the military court at the Thaba Tshwane military base in Pretoria, 2013.

They were charged with contravening various sections of the military defence code.

The charges related to the landing of the Gupta family’s private aircraft at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

A chartered commercial aircraft, Jet Airways flight JAI 9900 from India, ferrying more than 200 guests to the wedding of Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia, landed at the base in April 2013.

The passengers were then transported, either by light aircraft, helicopter or in police-escorted vehicles, to the 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 President Jacob Zuma and his ministers, and found that the landing was the result of “collusion by officials”. – Sapa

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