A spokesman for the Guptas says the family was given permission to use the airstrip at the military’s Waterkloof Airforce Base for private jets, carrying guests attending a Gupta wedding, to land.
Radio 702 earlier reported the story, which Gupta wedding spokesman Haranath Ghosh said was “misrepresented”. Ghosh said it was “sad” that 702 had “chosen to misrepresent easily checkable facts without consideration of the damage it is doing to the Gupta family at a time it wants to celebrate a very important wedding”.
Ghosh said Waterkloof was used with the full permission of authorities. “The permissions were applied for and granted to the Indian High Commission and not the family. These rights can be applied for by any foreign embassy. Naturally suitable protocol was used to receive and transport the foreign ministers to the wedding,” Ghosh said in a statement.
But eNCA reported department of defence spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini says the DoD had no knowledge of plans for the chartered jet to land there and was unaware that permission had been granted for private citizens to use the airstrip.
The Gupta family own The New Age newspaper and Sahara Computers, among many other businesses.
eNCA reported that the guests, after they landed, were escorted by the police VIP protection squads, using blue lights and sirens as they drove out of Pretoria en route to the The Palace of the Lost City hotel at Sun City, where the wedding of Vega Gupta (23) who is marrying Indian born fiancé, Aaskash Jahajgarhia. She is the niece of the Gupta brothers, Atay, Atul and Rajesh.
Ghosh said it was “a conventional and common practice between countries in receiving officials from another state. Waterkloof was used as Lanseria airport could not accommodate the size of jet chartered by the family”.
Over 400 guests, including high level politicians and Bollywood stars, will attend the three-day wedding.
President Jacob Zuma, seen here speaking at a business breakfast hosted by The New Age, is a close friend of the family, who have been named as benefactors of the president and his family.