EDITORIAL
1 minute read
4 Oct 2013
6:00 am

Clear up Zuma’s role in Guptagate

EDITORIAL

Presidential spin doctor Mac Maharaj would have us believe there is no truth in the latest allegations by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members at a military tribunal that Jacob Zuma was directly involved in the "Guptagate" scandal.

There has long been a suspicion that the chartered commercial aircraft, Jet Airways flight JAI 9900 from India carrying more than 200 Gupta wedding guests, could not have landed at Waterkloof Air Base in April without Zuma’s knowledge.

An initial inquiry, not surprisingly, found Zuma and his Cabinet ministers blameless.

Instead a scapegoat was made of Bruce Koloane, chief of state protocol, who has since been demoted but still remains employed by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.

Beeld newspaper yesterday quoted from a sworn affidavit by Lt-Col Christine Anderson, who faces military discipline over her involvement in the saga.

Her statement reads, in part: “On or about 17 April 2013, Mr 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’.”

This is the first time Zuma has been directly implicated. However, a sworn affidavit does not make a watertight case. A significant weakness is that it remains in effect hearsay evidence.

Anderson saying that Koloane said he had met Zuma regarding the flight is not as strong as Koloane himself saying the same thing. Yet the ramifications are enormous. If Zuma was complicit in the manifold breaches of the law that accompanied this scandal, he should pay a heavy price.

Given his history, he will duck and dive. Anderson’s legal team should subpoena him to confirm or deny his conversation with Koloane. Few believe Maharaj.