Ex-Dirco DG Matjila found out about Gupta landing through media, inquiry hears

Jerry Matjila is testifying at the state capture commission of inquiry, which is focusing on the details surrounding the controversial landing in 2013.

A screegrab shows former International Relations director general Jerry Matjila at the state capture inquiry on 8 July 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - Former International Relations Director-General Jerry Matjila said that he only became aware of the Guptas’ privately chartered aircraft landing at the Waterkloof Air Force Base through the media, not internal channels.

Matjila is testifying at the state capture commission of inquiry, which is focusing on the details surrounding the controversial landing in 2013.

The family had chartered a Jetair aircraft to ferry several hundred guests to South Africa to attend a wedding at Sun City in the North West province.

Matjila was asked when he first became aware of any plans for a private aircraft to and at the airforce base.

“It was after the arrival of the aircraft. I became aware through the news and social media. I was not in the picture.”

Matjila said when he met with India’s High Commissioner Virendra Gupta, he expressed the country’s unhappiness with the aircraft landing at the base.

“He apologised and knew there was a serious oversight from his part. I can decode to say that it was a very serious error on their part.”

The state capture commission of inquiry has heard that for his role in the unlawful landing at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, former head of state protocol Bruce Koloane was given a final written warning.

Matjila said their investigation established irregularities in the manner in which the landing authorisation was granted.

“He says he couldn’t advise the executives, top management and the department… so, those were some of the deviations.”

He said Koloane pleaded guilty to three charges without any evidence or facts being led at the hearing - before the sanction was handed down.

“There was suspension without pay for a period of two months as an alternative to dismissal and a warning which shall be placed in the employees’ file and shall remain valid for six months.”

WATCH LIVE: Koloane in state capture hot seat over Gupta Waterkloof landing

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)