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'Gupta wedding was distasteful'

Ahmed Kathrada Foundation says the Gupta wedding, in light of SA & India’s poverty, was distasteful.

Aakash Jahajgarhia and Vega Gupta shortly before their wedding. Picture: Gupta family.

JOHANNESBURG -As the Gupta wedding scandal intensifies, the family is now being ridiculed for hosting the lavish and extravagant wedding celebrations in light of the widespread poverty in South Africa and India.

Eyewitness News broke the story on 30 April that a private jet chartered by the Gupta family carrying over 200 wedding guests, had landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base without any authorisation.

Several departments including the Department of Defence and the Police Ministry have launched internal probes to get to the bottom of the incident.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said on Monday that in the light of widespread poverty, unemployment and inequality in South Africa, the Gupta wedding was distasteful.

The foundation has welcomed the investigation into the unauthorised landing of the privately chartered Jet Airways aircraft and said it must be established how a single family has come to wield such immense administrative and political influence.

A total of nine Tshwane Metro Police officers have also been arrested after they allegedly formed part of the security complement that escorted the Gupta family wedding guests to Sun City.

The Tshwane Metro Police's Isaac Mahamba said police will provide them with a report into the nine men so they could determine what disciplinary action should be taken.

"We'll release the preliminary investigation and from there we'll begin mapping a way forward as to where and what will happen to these members."

In a statement last week, the family claimed everything was done above board and that the wedding showcased the country as a tourist destination.

The Indian High Commission is hosting a press conference on Thursday to explain its part in the debacle.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Parliament will be pushing government for more answers in connection with the so called Guptagate scandal.

DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said Members of Parliament (MPs) will be asking tough questions.

"We want questions answered about who gave the political approval for this landing, on what basis and whether or not the processes that were avoided by them not landing at OR Tambo have since been rectified. The government has a lot to answer for. It's been very good to see that the African National Congress (ANC) is also demanding answers."

Government has moved swiftly in the wake of the scandal following several probes into the illegal landing.

In a statement at the weekend, the Gupta family issued a general apology in the wake of the scandal surrounding Vega Gupta's lavish wedding.

Atul Gupta apologised to the South African and Indian governments, local authorities, SA citizens and guests who attended the wedding.

He said the family also regretted any incidents that happened at Sun City of which they were unaware.

The family has welcomed an investigation into the landing of the plane and use of blue light envoys and said it simply wanted to give Vega Gupta a memorable wedding on South African soil.

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