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'SA is no banana republic'

Jeff Radebe and other ministers will discuss the Gupta report filed by the justice cluster.

Guests arrive at the Waterkloof Air Force Base for the Gupta wedding. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN

PRETORIA - State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele on Tuesday said government will not allow the country's resources to be used for private purposes.

The 'Guptagate' scandal loomed large during debate on his department's budget in Parliament.

DA and COPE MPs argued that the politically connected family posed a threat to national security by being allowed to misuse state resources.

But Cwele hit back by saying South Africa was not a banana republic.

"Opposition members shifted this debate to the Waterkloof incident and some of them said we are some form of banana republic where aircrafts land at our air base without our knowledge. This is not true."

JUSTICE CLUSTER FILES REPORTS

Meanwhile, government has confirmed Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has received investigation reports from the relevant director-generals (DGs) into the Gupta's controversial landing of a private jet at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

Eyewitness News revealed the landing on 30 April when about 200 passengers on board a privately chartered Jet Airways flight landed at the base for the Gupta family wedding at Sun City.

Tuesday marked government's deadline for the DGs in the justice cluster to complete their probe into the debacle.

Government spokesperson Phumla Williams said justice cluster chairman Minister Jeff Radebe will meet with his fellow Ministers to discuss the report.

"They are going to be meeting to consider the report and thereafter they will be able to advise when they will give feedback to the public and the media."

DGs in the Police, Defence and International Relations all conducted separate probes within their own departments.

So far five officials in International Relations, Police and the Air Force, as well as 11 Tshwane Metro Police Officers have been suspended for their part in the debacle.

Meanwhile, the Gupta family has issued a statement saying it will no longer respond to questions from the media on the issue, but reiterated its commitment to cooperating in investigations.

DRUGS ON A PLANE

Tshwane Metro Police said on Sunday started investigating the possibility of a video which allegedly showed what was believed to be drugs being off-loaded from a plane used by the controversial Gupta family.

According to the Sunday Independent, 11 metro police officers who were suspended for moonlighting as VIP security for the Gupta family were in possession of the video.

The report suggested the officers had planned to use the video to blackmail police into dropping the charges against them, but the Tshwane Metro Police's Console Tleane said they have yet to prove the existence of such a video.

"We don't want to comment on this because we doubt its existence their motive."

Tleane said the internal processes against the 11 officers implicated in the Gupta wedding scandal will continue and criminal charges may be laid by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

PROPERTY TAXES

Meanwhile, the Gupta family landed in hot water again as allegations that they received a massive property tax cut on their R26,5 million home in Saxonwold.

The City Press reported that the home had been valued for less than a third of its actual worth, and the Guptas are paying a fraction of the taxes on the property.

The report said that if the valuation of the home had been correct, the Guptas would have paid an extra R100,000 in property taxes per year.

DIPLOMATIC PASSPORTS

Media reports also emerged that the Guptas' had tried to bully their way into receiving diplomatic passports.

International Relations at the weekend said if the Gupta family had applied for diplomatic passports they would have been denied such a privilege.

The family allegedly argued that they deserved these passports because they often travelled with President Jacob Zuma on trips to promote South Africa.

But the Department of International Relations' Clayson Monyela said they had no record of such an application.

"We've got no record of such an application. Generally speaking, I can tell you that any individual that wants to ask for a diplomatic passport when they don't qualify, our response will be that they cannot get a diplomatic passport if you are not a diplomat."

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