Jacob Zuma's Waterkloof 'scapegoat' falls on his sword

Bruce Koloane resigns after the government recalls him as ambassador to the Netherlands

04 September 2019 - 18:23 By THABO MOKONE
Bruce Koloane, former chief of state protocol and now SA ambassador in the Netherlands, has resigned from government after he was recalled as ambassador.
Bruce Koloane, former chief of state protocol and now SA ambassador in the Netherlands, has resigned from government after he was recalled as ambassador.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times.

The former head of state protocol who confessed to having played a role in allowing the Guptas to land at the Waterkloof airbase has resigned from the public service.

Bruce Koloane, who was serving as SA's ambassador to the Netherlands, resigned after the department of international relations and co-operation recalled him from his post for "bringing the country into disrepute".

This was revealed by international relations minister Naledi Pandor during an oral question and answer session with MPs in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Pandor told MPs that Koloane had decided to step down from his  job after she was unswayed by his response when asked to explain why he should not be redeployed to the department's headquarters in Pretoria.

Koloane, who first made headlines six years ago, stunned the nation in July when he admitted under oath before the state capture commission of inquiry that he had abused his previous position as the chief of state protocol, to benefit the Gupta family by enabling them to land an aircraft at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013.

Pandor, who was responding to a question from DA MP Darren Bergman, said Koloane had been recalled to head office in terms of the Public Service Act but he chose to resign after he was not allowed to stay on in Amsterdam.

Pandor said Koloane was expected to permanently exit her department by the middle of this month.

"In terms of the provisions of the law, we allowed the ambassador the opportunity to make representations as to why he should not be transferred back. He responded as it's his right in letter at the end of July. After considering his representation, I decided to transfer him back to head office on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so because the matters revealed in the inquiry were of such a nature that I believe they brought the government and country into disrepute.

"He has one month's notice in order to return to the country and should be back here by the middle of September. Subsequent to that he tendered his resignation from the department and will be resigning from service," said Pandor, amid loud gasping and applause from MPs.

Bergman said the move was welcome even it killed his prepared follow-up question.

"Minister, thanks, that is good news. It actually stifles my next question," he said.


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