Gupta plane used Waterkloof Air Force base again

02 June 2017 - 08:28 By GRAEME HOSKEN
Members of the SANDF during the Mandela Commemoration Medal Parade at the Waterkloof Airforce Base on December 7, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. File photo.
Members of the SANDF during the Mandela Commemoration Medal Parade at the Waterkloof Airforce Base on December 7, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Alet Pretorius

The Gupta's use of Air Force Base Waterkloof is not just linked to the family's wedding furore.

1409784_1134664.jpgLeaked e-mails seen by The Times show the aircraft, ZS-OAK, has been chartered by the SA National Defence Force since the wedding in 2013 and has subsequently been allowed to land at the base.

In 2013 President Jacob Zuma was linked to the scandal when it emerged that as "No1" he had given permission for the family to land hundreds of guests at the base to attend the lavish wedding at Sun City of Vega Gupta and her husband, Aakash Jahajgarhia.

Vega's mother is Achlar Kumar, whose brothers are Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta.

Two years later, according to documents seen by The Times, ZS-OAK was back at the base, this time, according to SANDF comment last night, on official charter business for the military.

E-mails seen by The Times, which are directed to Ashu Chawla, chief executive of the Gupta's Sahara Computers, show that on November 8 2015 ZS-OAK took off from Waterkloof to Sishen in the Northern Cape.

The flight returned later that day, before departing for OR Tambo International Airport, where it is kept.

Department of Defence spokes-man Siphiwe Dlamini last night said there was nothing untoward about the aircraft landing at the base.

"The SANDF can confirm that a chartered aircraft (ZSOAK) landed and took off from Air Force Base Waterkloof.

"This was to ferry various invited military and civilian dignitaries to the SA Army Combat Training Centre in Lohatla, Northern Cape.

"These dignitaries and captains of the defence industry were invited to attend the 2015 edition of Exercise Amani Africa, a force preparation exercise with various regional militaries."

He said the SANDF made use of chartered aircraft when available serviceable aircraft were certified to be inadequate to safely ferry passengers and/or goods, "or when the serviceability status is assessed to have a potential to compromise the safety of both passengers and or crew.

"It is standard aircraft charter procedure for the department to forward a request for an aircraft charter through the national Treasury-approved contract processes.

"It is through this process that ExecuJet was appointed as the service provider for the required aircraft. The SANDF has no influence nor say in how the charter process is managed and the required aircraft is solicited."

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