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'Nkandla probe likely to end up like Guptagate'

The SANDF withdrew charges against two officials implicated in the Guptagate saga.

FILE. The SANDF withdrew charges against two officials implicated in the Guptagate saga. Picture: Nick Hanley/iWitness

PRETORIA - Corruption and constitutional watchdogs have warned investigations into the spending on President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead are likely to end like the Guptagate scandal - in a whitewash.

On Tuesday, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) confirmed charges have been withdrawn against two officers implicated by a government investigation into the Gupta aircraft that landed at Waterkloof Air Force base.

Former head of international relations state protocol, Bruce Koloane, was demoted after a disciplinary hearing.

But he's now an ambassador in the Netherlands.

The latest development in the Guptagate scandal has been described as a shocking lack of government and political accountability.

Corruption Watch's David Lewis says there was never a credible case against the two Air Force officials who were merely selected to take the fall.

"Those two people should have to be congratulated for not allowing themselves to be scapegoated and I'm pretty sure exactly the same thing is going to happen with the officials who have been designated to be scapegoated for the Nkandla saga."

Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac)'s Lawson Naidoo agrees.

"The only independent report that exists, which is that of the Public Protector is being sidelined in favour of done reports that have been prepared by executive drafters."

Naidoo has described the scandal as a whitewash.

"We haven't seen any independent investigation of what's happened. We had an inter-ministerial committee that reported. Parliament did not pick up the issue and we've had a total lack of public accountability on this issue."

Lewis says government's investigation was a ruse.

"There was never a credible charge against these people. They were selected to take the bullet for people more senior than themselves."

The SANDF is yet to explain why the charges were withdrawn.

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