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Johannesburg - 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,” said spokesman Mac Maharaj.
There is no truth to these allegations by SANDF members, the presidency said.
The Beeld newspaper reported on Thursday that South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members facing a military court on charges relating to the landing of the Gupta plane had implicated Zuma in sworn affidavits.
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.”
The head of state protocol did not want a paper trail linking President Jacob Zuma to the landing of a private aircraft at Waterkloof Air Force Base, the Beeld report said.
This was according to an affidavit by Warrant Officer Thabo Ntshisi, one of five SANDF members facing a military court on charges relating to the landing of the Gupta plane.
Ntshisi said he was referred to Bruce Koalane, the head of state protocol who has since been demoted, to get a “note verbale” to authorise the landing.
But Koalane told Ntshisi that it was not easy to issue the diplomatic communication because he was not allowed to put it on paper that President Jacob Zuma had authorised the flight.
“He [Koalane] said Lieutenant-Colonel Christine Anderson will confirm it. She said that Number One knew of the flight and that I should allow the flight.”
A chartered commercial aircraft, Jet Airways flight JAI 9900 from India, ferrying more than 200 guests for the wedding of Vega Gupta, 23, and Indian-born 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