SABC News - Gupta issue must be handled with care: Zuma:Saturday 4 May 2013

Gupta issue must be handled with care: Zuma

Saturday 4 May 2013 19:47


President Jacob Zuma says it must be understood that the Gupta’s are of another country and their issues must be handled with understanding. (SABC)

President Jacob Zuma says diplomatic relations with India must be considered when the Gupta plane scandal is handled.

Speaking to the SABC after a visit to the Congo, Zuma said the Indian High Commission could not be blamed.

He says they had made an application referring to their request to land at Waterkloof Military base, but the application was wrongly handled.  

Cabinet on Friday announced a seven day investigation into the debacle and five officials have been put on special leave or suspended. The plane landed in South Africa illegally. Its passengers were given a blue light escort. It turns out, officers used private cars and false plates.

President Zuma says none of the Ministers are to blame for the security breach. After being slapped with an R80 000 fine, the plane left carrying over 200 Gupta wedding guests. But, not before they were put through the customs and home affairs checks they skipped on arrival.  

Zuma wants to avoid a diplomatic fallout. "But of course it's important to know that you are dealing with citizens of another country, India, there are diplomatic relations so the manner in which we handle that it must be handled in that understanding."

The Gupta's are known to be friends of President Zuma and have contributed to the African National Congress.

Four officials from the South African National Defence Forum (SANDF) and South African Police Service (SAPS) have been placed on special leave. The Chief of State Protocol, Bruce Koloane has been suspended pending an investigation. Nine police officers have also been arrested.  

The Gupta's are known to be friends of President Zuma. And have contributed to the African National Congress (ANC) and other political parties coffers.

Political analyst Adam Habib believes this perceived relationship is bad for the President, one of the issues the ANC will want to look at on the eve of an election year.

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