Friday, July 05, 2019

Gupta delegation took pictures at air force base without authorisation, commission hears

The commission of inquiry into state capture heard testimony on Thursday on security breaches borne from the Gupta guests landing at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in 2013.

The commission heard testimony from acting director-general of the department of military veterans, Lieutenant-General Derrick Mbuyiselo Mgwebi.

One of the security breaches Mgwebi told the commission about was that “civilians” who had been on board the Jet Airways charter flight carrying guests to the Gupta wedding took pictures at the air force base without the necessary authorisation.

“Civilians came into [the base], [after] the landing, they came in, they took pictures. Remember this base is at least understood to be a strategic military facility and therefore nobody is supposed to take pictures and if you do, you must be authorised,” Mgwebi told the commission.

Another security breach was that Major Thabo Ntshisi, who appeared before the commission on Wednesday, had discussed departmental issues with “a civilian”, the commission heard.

This was revealed through recorded telephone calls, Mgwebi told the commission, explaining that Ntshisi had spoken over the phone to “another lady” about the landing and sought her assistance with securing employment elsewhere.

Mgwebi said Ntshisi was not aware that the telephonic conversations were being recorded.

Mgwebi also told the commission that the unreliability of certain officers created a challenge in terms of security.

He said the absence of properly guided and informed counterintelligence at the air force base also led to security being compromised.

“Security was compromised because people [who are] trained, they were there, they saw all of this but they didn’t report it. So security was breached there,” Mgwebi told the commission.

He had earlier testified that the Gupta aeroplane would have not landed at the air force base had intelligence officers interrogated the seven helicopters that landed several hours before the Gupta-aircraft landed.

Mgwebi added that the landing of these helicopters should have been reported to seniors in command.

The commission heard testimony on Wednesday from department of transport former director-general (DG) Nonkululeko Sindane that supporting aircrafts landed at the air force base, “which ordinarily would not be normal”, and that none of these had been funded by the SANDF and the SAPS but rather by the Gupta family.
04/07/19 Makhosandile Zulu/The Citizen
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