The South African government is today expected to clarify the use of the Waterkloof Air Force Base for the landing of a jet ferrying dignitaries to the Gupta family wedding at Sun City.
SA National Defence Force spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini yesterday said: “At this stage I cannot comment on the matter. You can contact me tomorrow morning and I will have something to say.”
The announcement came against the backdrop of a call by the ANC to the SANDF to confirm whether permission was granted for the use of the air force base. Gupta family spokesperson Haranath Ghosh yesterday denied claims that the Guptas used the base to land guests in chartered aircraft in Pretoria.
He said the Gupta family had nothing to do with the request for permission to land the plane.
He said permission was applied for by the Indian High Commission, not the family. He said it was a conventional and common protocol practice between countries regarding travel arrangements for officials.
“The Waterkloof Air Force Base was used with full permission of the authorities to receive foreign dignitaries, including some ministers,” Ghosh said.
“These rights can be applied for by any foreign embassy. The suitable protocol was used to receive and transport foreign ministers to the wedding.”
He said the most of the country’s media chose to misrepresent easily checkable facts without taking into consideration the damage that would do to the Gupta family at the time they wanted to celebrate a very important wedding.
“All arrangements were done transparently and a simple call to the authorities would have clarified this,” he said.