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CAA penalties for Guptagate jet company

The CAA says it will take action against the ‘unauthorised landing’ of the Gupta jet at Waterkloof.

The jet, spotted at OR Tambo International Airport, on 3 May 2013. Picture: Johan Swart/iWitness

PRETORIA - The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Friday said it would impose penalties on the operator of the private jet at the centre of the Guptagate saga.

The CAA wanted to take action against Jet Airways, the company which owns the aircraft, for violating South Africa's aviation regulations.

Earlier, several government departments announced a host of measures to address widespread irregularities that led to the plane, which was carrying nearly 200 Gupta family wedding guests, being allowed to land at the Waterkloof Air Base outisde Pretoria on Tuesday.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said the Jet Airways plane was subject to civil aviation regulations and scrutiny after it was ordered to vacate the air force base and was moved to OR Tambo International Airport.

"The Airbus 330 has been found to be without a foreign operator permit."

Radebe said the South African Revenue Service (Sars) also processed the passengers.

"Customs officials went to process the visitors at Sun City and provided the required customs forms."

The Gupta family maintained that it acquired all the necessary permits to allow its guests to arrive in the country.

Friday's high-level security cluster briefing exposed sharp contradictions between the version of events given by government and the Gupta family.

The family was quoted as boasting about bringing investment into South Africa, creating jobs and promoting the country as a tourism destination for its guests.

In a statement released on Friday, the Guptas were adamant they had done nothing wrong.

"For the record the family has obtained all permission for any and every part of the event," the statement read.

But Radebe called the arrival of their guests an "unauthorised landing" which brought South Africa into disrepute.

ARRESTS AND SUSPENSIONS

There have also been several suspensions and arrests relating to saga.

International Relations Chief of State Protocol Bruce Koloane was suspended earlier this week, while two Tshwane metro police officers and a police reservist were arrested on Friday.

The Indian High Commissioner was also suspended.

Meanwhile, the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) confirmed the newly-wed couple, Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia, whose wedding was at the centre of the so-called Guptagate saga, checked in at international departures at OR Tambo International Airport n Friday afternoon.

The majority of guests left Sun City in the North West on Friday morning.

The chartered jet was scheduled to leave South Africa on Friday afternoon around 4:30PM.

Acsa's spokesperson Unathi Batyashe-Fillis said there were procedures that were followed with agents.

"Each airline has a handling agent. As far as Acsa is concerned we did not and special request with this particular flight."

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