The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has called on International Relations Minister Dr. Naledi Pandor to recall South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Bruce Koloane.
The call was made following Koloane’s testimony earlier in week before the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.
Koloane admitted he used the names of former president Jacob Zuma and two Cabinet ministers to allow for the landing of the Gupta family’s wedding guests at the Waterkloof airbase in 2013.
“After having his memory ‘refreshed’, Ambassador Koloane indicated that while head of state protocol, he used the then president’s name to facilitate the unauthorised landing of wedding guests at the Waterkloof airbase,” said Neeshan Balton, executive director of the Kathrada Foundation.
“It is clear that his ethical and moral standing to represent our country as a diplomat is in question. We are of the view that he should be recalled from his position and be subjected to the necessary steps, which should result in him being permanently relieved of his duties.
“We cannot have somebody – who has admitted to lying, and who was seemingly unashamed of doing the bidding of those who have come to epitomise state capture in South Africa – being a representative of the country,” he said.
Balton said he thought that the ambassador’s regret over the Waterkloof scandal “would have led him to being more circumspect about his dealings with the Gupta family”.
“However, the #GuptaLeaks paint a different picture, with reports of his continued interaction with the family, including arranging for friends to stay at their Limpopo guesthouse, and assisting the Guptas in making contact with a Dutch business. Aspects of these leaks were confirmed by him at the Commission.”
Balton said it was surprising that Koloane was appointed an ambassador in the first place.
He was appointed by Zuma.
“We must ask if this ‘soft sanction’ is perhaps indicative of his ‘reward’ for having agreed to be the fall guy behind the unapproved landing at a national keypoint,” said Balton.
“It is quite incredulous that a President would deploy someone, who abused his name and that of cabinet members, to a senior diplomatic post. It really does make one question if the public is indeed being told all of the facts around the Waterkloof landing saga.”
Balton also said that the then Indian High Commissioner, Virendra Gupta – who allegedly called Koloane about the request to clear the plane landing – should be asked to appear before the Zondo Commission.
“He must account for his role in this saga. The necessary engagements with the Indian government should also take place so that they probe his conduct and take the necessary actions against him.
“Perhaps the Indian public too, would be interested to know the details surrounding the Waterkloof incident, in light of the more recent controversy within their own country around the latest Gupta family wedding extravaganza held in the Himalayas,” he said.
– African News Agency (ANA)