Email trail: SA ambassador to Netherlands asked Guptas for golf tournament prizes

The man responsible for getting the Guptas clearance to land a plane of wedding party guests at Waterkloof military base in 2013 also asked the family to sponsor a golf tournament in celebration of his 20th wedding anniversary.

When the Gupta plane landed, Bruce Koloane was head of state of protocol. He was suspended by the department of international relations and co-operation after a disciplinary hearing into the infamous incident at Waterkloof. But President Jacob Zuma appointed Koloane as the South African ambassador to the Netherlands.

TimesLive reported on Monday that a series of emails revealed that last year Koloane asked the Guptas to sponsor a golf tournament planned for December.

“This year marks 20 years since I married my wife and plan to host a golf tournament in December 2016 in Pietermaritzburg as part of my celebrations. This is besides the party I will have at home with family. I am writing to you to request your support in sponsoring some prizes that I could use during the golf tournament,” said Koloane in an email.

The email was sent to Ashu Chawla, the chief executive of Gupta-owned company Sahara. TimesLive said it’s unclear whether the Guptas sponsored the event, but sources told the media house that there were celebrations at Koloane’s house in Pietermaritzburg in December last year. News24 reported that an apparent Gupta insider wrote in response to the request: “Support whatever he wants.”

Koloane was previously found to have breached security protocols at Waterkloof base for allowing the Gupta plane to land. At the time, he said that he had been “under pressure from number one” in explaining the landing to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula’s political adviser.

A stream of emails were leaked to the Sunday Times and City Press over the weekend. The emails detailed close ties between the Gupta family and Cabinet ministers including Des Van Rooyen and Mosebenzi Zwane.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, was also implicated in the emails after they revealed that he and his son, Zuzifa, had visited the Gupta mansion in Saxonwold for lunch.

Buthelezi last year confirmed to the Mail & Guardian that he had visited the family for lunch. The IFP leader said he met Tony Gupta at a wedding and he was later invited for lunch at the family’s home.

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