Cape Town - Controversial former chief of state protocol Ambassador Bruce Koloane on Tuesday took the fall for the landing of the Gupta aircraft at Waterkloof Air Force Base and admitted he abused former president Jacob Zuma’s name.
Koloane made a dramatic U-turn after the commission of inquiry into state capture handed him previously classified recordings, some of which have him putting pressure on other government officials to speedily process the request by the Guptas to land wedding guests at the national keypoint.
He told commission chairperson that he abused Zuma’s name and those of former transport minister Ben Martins and Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
“I erred in wrongly and wrongfully using the name of Mapisa-Nqakula, Martins and Zuma to try and exert pressure on the officials who were supposed to process the flight clearance,” Koloane admitted.
He said the incident happened more than six years (between February and April 2013) and that he tried to put it behind him.
On Monday, Koloane denied parts of the evidence presented by the committee of four directors-general who investigated the landing until the commission furnished him with the recordings on Sunday.
“The president or the presidency has never interfered in the landing of planes during my tenure as chief of state protocol. We took full responsibility for the logistics,” he said.
Koloane described his move as namedropping, as it is now known in government circles. He also admitted that Mapisa-Nqakula, Martins and Zuma never gave him an instruction.
“I actually abused the power of my office, calling officials to influence them,” he admitted.
According to Koloane, he used his office to follow up on why the flight clearance for the Gupta chartered Jet Airways plane was not being processed.
“It’s a clear abuse of my portfolio to have put pressure on Major Thabo Ntshisi to expedite the processing of the flight clearance,” he said.
Koloane said he has attended therapy with his wife and children and that the matter brought unnecessary pain to his family.