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‘Govt, Ramaphosa didn’t know the Guptas owned the private jet’

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says ExecuJet exercises a right of non-disclosure of the ownership of the aircraft.

The minister held a briefing at the Waterkloof Air Force Base today.

JOHANNESBURG - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula insists government and in particular Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa did not know the Gupta family owned the private jet that was chartered to fly a delegation to Japan.

The minister held a briefing at the Waterkloof Air Force Base today to explain why the government delegation leased a jet instead of using the air force's own aircrafts.

Eyewitness News this week revealed that the Gupta owned bombardier was chartered at an estimated cost of R5 million for the official visit.

Mapisa-Nqakula says the company providing the plane, ExecuJet, and the pilots are security vetted but the owners of the plane are not.

She says Execujet exercises a right of non-disclosure of the ownership of the aircraft.

"We have absolutely no control over who owns an aircraft which is charted by ExecuJet on the basis of the specifications request specifications submitted to National Treasury."

However the minister has asked the air force to assess whether this compromises security and integrity.

She insists all procedures were followed for the procurement of the plane.

She says the service producer it used to charter the Gupta's private jet for an official government delegation did not disclose who the owners of the plane were.

The minister insists government officials did not know that the plane that was chartered was owned by the Gupta family.

She says that security vetting is done but the owners of the aircraft are not disclosed.