Zondo to weigh Koloane's U-turn on details relating to Gupta landing

Zondo told Koloane that he will have to consider whether he genuinely did not remember making certain statements in particular, using the presidents name.

A screengrab of the former head of state protocol Bruce Koloane appearing at the Zondo Commission on 8 July 2019.

PRETORIA – Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said that the former head of State Protocol Bruce Koloane's claim that he could not remember key details related to Waterkloof Air Force Base saga and his about turn when presented with evidence would be central to deciding whether he has been truthful or not.

Koloane testified at the state capture commission of inquiry on Tuesday where he admitted to using former President Jacob Zuma's name to put pressure on Defence officials to authorise the landing of the Gupta's privately chartered jet.

But on Monday, Koloane claimed he could not remember name-dropping and even questioned the accuracy of the statements made by people who had said he had abused Zuma's name.

Zondo told Koloane that he would have to consider whether he genuinely did not remember making certain statements, in particular, using the president's name.

“Whether it was a case of somebody who was hoping that there would be nothing that could contradict him and if there was nothing, that’s how it would stay, that once you had the recordings, then realise that this could not work. So, I may have to look at which one of the two positions it is.”

Koloane insisted that his memory failed him, adding that he was given limited time to study the many documents provided to him by the commission.

In the recording, Koloane said the then Transport Minister Ben Martins had been given instructions by Zuma to authorise the Gupta landing.

He also used the term "number one" to refer to Zuma.

“I would like to admit that, indeed, I did what is now popularly known as name dropping and used those [names] to nearly push officials who were supposed to process the flight clearance to do their job.”

But Koloane insisted he was not in contact with the politicians.

“The Minister of Transport nor the Minister of Defence nor the president, at any stage, communicate to me that I should deal with this matter.”

The commission will on Wednesday continue hearing evidence related to Transnet.