Johannesburg - Pressure is mounting on International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor to recall and fire the ambassador to the Netherlands, Bruce Koloane, after his confession that he pushed for the illegal landing of the plane with the Gupta wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Base.
Opposition parties are set to ramp up their call to Pandor when she delivers her budget speech today.
DA spokesperson on international relations, Darren Bergman, said his party had written a letter to Pandor asking her to place Koloane on suspension, pending an inquiry into his revelations at the Commission of Inquiry headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
On Tuesday, Koloane admitted he used the names of former president Jacob Zuma, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and former transport minister Ben Martins to force army officials at the base to allow the Guptas’ chartered plane to land on April 30, 2013.
Bergman said they were sceptical that a person who has made such a grave mistake “got promoted to a more prominent post by the very boss (Jacob Zuma) he was to have wronged”.
They want Pandor to review some of the foreign missions, he said, adding that their call was in light of recent diplomatic embarrassments.
UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa described Koloane as the “fall guy”, who allegedly acted on the instructions of his then bosses.
Holomisa said: “I think he is still continuing to shield his bosses and the people who instructed him to ensure that the Gupta plane landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base.
“I don’t think he could have done that alone. There was a big network of people who were behind him. It was for that reason that they were quick to act, and rewarded him with an ambassadorial post to the Netherlands,” Holomisa pointed out.
“He should not have been rewarded. They told him to execute the landing. They told him that your kids will not suffer, and you will also not suffer Your family will be fine,” he added.
But Pandor yesterday, through her spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele, said she would wait for the commission’s recommendations.
Ngqengelele said Pandor did not want to comment at this stage, but would do so at an appropriate time and once Judge Zondo had made a pronouncement on Koloane.
On Monday, Jerry Matjila - South Africa’s ambassador to the UN - told the commission that an ambassador posted in a foreign land was a representative of South Africa’s president abroad.
Matjila added that ambassadors were allowed to discuss national and international security threats with heads of states in their respective posts.
He emphasised that ambassadors were posted because they were trusted by their country’s president, and that South Africa was no different.
Outa chief executive Wayne Duvenage also expressed his disappointment, saying: “So Bruce Koloane says ‘I am still too ashamed to face Zuma’, as he explains how he name-dropped to get his way.
“Seriously Bruce, don’t take us for idiots Do you think Zuma would have allowed your promotion to ambassador if you dropped him?”