Address by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP in the Parliamentary Debate: Use of Waterkloof Air Force Base (22 May 2013)

Mister Speaker and Honourable Members,

One would have expected Government to furnish us a copy of the report in order to enhance this debate. However, we are not surprised by this because here we are dealing with a government that took a dubious decision to investigate itself.

This must have been the easiest investigations for Government to conduct considering the close proximity of the Guptas to the Cabinet and the Directors General. This generally corrupt relationship between Cabinet and the Guptas has allowed the Guptas to use State Owned Enterprises as their cash cow in their controversial free of charge breakfast shows with the national broadcaster.

Mister Speaker, it is a blatant lie to assert that the Gupta planes did not obtain authorisation to land at the Waterkloof Air Force Base. Without authorisation, none of these planes would have entered our airspace.

The fact that they obtained authorisation proves beyond reasonable doubt that the Guptas have been getting away with using the Waterkloof as their parking bay each time they host important visitors from abroad. They just happened to be caught red-handed this time around.

There are a lot of things that do not add up about Government’s Guptagate report. Firstly, if the Waterkloof Air Force Base is not a National Key Point why waste our time by lining up and parading Ministers from the Security Cluster to address the Nation on the matter?

Secondly, given the fact that the planes did not obtain authorisation how and by whom were they refuelled? The only deduction that one can make from this fiasco is that the mere mention of the Gupta name is enough to send the entire Cabinet into a tailspin.

In addition to the inconsistencies I have mentioned above, if the Waterkloof Air Force Base is not a National Key Point, why have the senior officials who allegedly authorised the landing been suspended? In light of the fact that these officials should have delegated powers to authorise landing at an unclassified airport, why were they expected to obtain Executive authority?

The point I am trying to make here is that it makes no sense to suspend the officials for authorising landing at an unclassified airport.

In conclusion, the South African Revenue Service complained that it was not informed about this matter, while other Departments, such as Home Affairs confirmed that they were informed in advance. This led to a situation where some of the gifts the visitors brought with them were not declared when they entered the country. I am aware that many of these gifts were given to current and former Cabinet Ministers. In the interest of good governance, should they not return them?

Thank you