First On EWN: Govt officials fly high in Gupta jet

EWN has learnt a high level government delegation flew to Tokyo on a jet owned by the Gupta family.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at Tokyo International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has learnt that a high level government delegation led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was flown to Japan this past weekend on board a jet owned by the Gupta family.

Ramaphosa, accompanied by several ministers and deputy ministers has been in Japan on an official visit, and is due back in the country today.

The Bombardier Aerospace was hired by the Department of Defence through a government managed contract with service provider ExecuJet.

The Bombardier Aerospace, with the registration ZS-OAK, left the Waterkloof Air Force Base on Friday night, using the call sign 'South Africa 2', reserved for the deputy president.

Ramaphosa was photographed on Saturday night landing in Tokyo with the Gupta-owned air carrier.

The new jet is registered to Westdawn Investments, owned by the Gupta family, and President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane is a director at the company.

The Defence Department's Siphiwe Dlamini says the plane was leased and the air force is not privy to the processes of acquiring the jet.

"Such leasing is done through a central contract managed by the government through the National Treasury.

He says the plane was leased as part of a government contract.

"The South African Air Force is not privy to the processes of acquiring such a service. However, it determines the technical specification of the aircraft and safety requirements."

Dlamini says he cannot say at this stage how much the plane cost to charter.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Gupta family says Westdawn has an agreement in place with ExecuJet to charter the aircraft on a commercial basis, and they have no knowledge of any of the arrangements with third party clients.