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Parliament to debate 'Guptagate'

MPs have been given the go ahead to debate the so-called Guptagate saga.

The Gupta jet, seen leaving Waterkloof Air Force Base on Thursday 2 May 2013. Picture: Paul Treleven

CAPE TOWN - Parliament will hold a snap debate on the so-called Guptagate scandal.

National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu on Thursday granted the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s request that the issue be discussed as a matter of national importance.

Around 200 wedding guests arrived at the Waterkloof Air Force base last week to attend the Gupta wedding.

On 30 April, Eyewitness News reported the jet chartered by the wealthy and politically-connected Gupta family landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

It was ordered to leave the base and then depart from OR Tambo International Airport two days later.

Permission for what promises to be a heated debate was granted by Sisulu.

The DA made the request last week.

It said the degree of public outcry over the use of the Waterkloof Air Force Base by the Gupta family warranted a debate as a matter of national importance.

The unauthorised landing of the privately chartered plane and other aircraft is under investigation.

DA Chief Whip Watty Watson said, "It's a matter of public importance and that's why we asked for the debate. The whole country is crying out against this abuse of state resources."

A date for the debate has yet to be decided.

Meanwhile, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is likely to investigate the debacle after the Auditor General declined to do so.

Madonsela might be asked to establish if there was any unauthorised, irregular or wasteful expenditure as a result of the use of state resources by the Gupta family.

At the same time, the Tshwane municipality is set to suspend the nine metro police officers who allegedly escorted the Gupta family wedding guests to Sun City.

Officials from International Relations, the Police Ministry and the Air Force were suspended for their part in the debacle.

The nine Tshwane metro police officers have two days to explain why they should not be suspended.

The Gupta family has denied any wrongdoing.

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

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