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Guptagate: Charges withdrawn against 2 officers

Christine Anderson and Stefan van Zyl have always said they were following instructions from their superiors.

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

PRETORIA - The South African Defence Union (Sandu) says the withdrawal of charges against two air force officers implicated in the so-called Guptagate saga has vindicated the pair who've maintained from the beginning that they had no case to answer to.

Christine Anderson and Stefan van Zyl have always said they were merely following instructions from their superiors.

A government investigation found several procedures were flouted when a plane chartered by President Jacob Zuma's friends was allowed to land at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

International Relations Head of State Protocol Bruce Koloane was hauled before a disciplinary hearing for his role in the matter.

Perceived as the fall guy for Zuma, he was later rewarded with an ambassador post in the Netherlands.

Anderson and van Zyl's lawyer Pikkie Greef says Sandu's lawyers were notified of the withdrawal of charges this morning, but no reasons have been given for the decision.

"The officers should have never been implicated in the first place and we believe the authorities are running scared of exposing themselves."

Greef says a civil claim will now be initiated against the state.

"We won't hesitate to call the president as a witness to determine what his role in this matter was."

The president has since denied having prior knowledge or involvement in the landing of the Gupta wedding jet at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

A total of 204 guests were flown into the Centurion base.

Passengers managed to bypass customs ahead of a wedding at Sun City in the North West.

CHARGES WITHDRAWN WITHOUT EXPLANATION

Eyewitness News has seen the one page notification sent to Anderson and van Zyl's legal team informing them of the development.

The note on the letterhead states in one line that the case was formally withdrawn by the director of military prosecutions with no explanation provided.

The officers have had the charges hanging over their heads for 16 months.

Greef says they've reacted with mixed emotions.

The South African National Defence Force has confirmed it will respond to questions on this development.

The letter confirming the withdrawal of charges against Christine Anderson and Stefan van Zyl. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

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