Media Statement on the Plane which landed at Waterkloof Airforce Base on 3rd May 2013.

We wish to thank you for coming to this briefing by government to address the unauthorised landing of a private plane at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

Government has investigated this security breach. Government is gravely concerned at this violation of the security protocol and total disregard of established practice for clearing the landing of aircraft in a military facility that is of strategic importance to the country.

Our particular concern is that the aircraft was carrying international passengers who do not fit the category of government officials or VIPs on official duty.

We have appointed a team of directors-general to investigate all the circumstances surrounding this incident. This team is expected to report back within seven working days.

Several government departments are involved in this matter and the following preliminary findings and actions are now being presented to you.

Government has no record of a note verbale from the Indian High Commission notifying DIRCO of a visiting delegation requiring diplomatic assistance and aircraft clearance and landing rights. The defence attaché of the Indian High Commission sent a request for aircraft clearance directly to the Air Force Command Unit within the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on 4 April 2013. The Air Force consulted with the Office of State Protocol at DIRCO and facilitated the clearance of the aircraft without informing the Chief of the SANDF.

The officials who were involved in coordinating the landing of the aircraft, without the requisite executive authority, have since been put on compulsory/special leave at DIRCO, SANDF and SAPS respectively.

The affected officials are:

  • Chief of State Protocol: Ambassador B Koloane
  • Officer Commanding Air Force Command post: Brig Gen L Lombard
  • Officer Commanding Air Force Base: Brig Gen TS Madumane
  • Movement Control Officer: Lt Col C Anderson
  • Major General Gela SAPS Operational Response Services, Gauteng Province.

In addition to the compulsory/special leave, the JCPS Ministers have directed that plans be put in place to ensure that all exit procedures are adhered to. To this end, a team has been established to coordinate the management of the departure of these guests through OR Tambo International Airport.

Yesterday, the Minister of Police instructed the National Commissioner of Police to investigate whether any transgressions occurred through providing unauthorised support to these visitors from Waterkloof to Sun City. The Minister has provided the following preliminary findings:

  • The Indian delegation convoy, which comprised black BMWs fitted with emergency lights, were not SAPS vehicles. 
  • These vehicles were identified as hired from S&M Transportation in Pretoria. A criminal case has been registered against the owner for illegally using the emergency lights and fitting false registration plates. The investigation is continuing.
  • It has also been established that some members of the contracted security company are members of both the SAPS and Tshwane Metro Police.
  • Two Metro Police officers and one police reservist were arrested yesterday. 
  • The involvement of marked SAPS vehicles is still under investigation.

We can also confirm that the Department of Home Affairs’ immigration officers processed all passengers who landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base and in full compliance with immigration laws. Upon departure, we shall ensure the passengers comply with customs and immigration requirements.

South African Revenue Service (SARS) customs officials went to process these visitors at Sun City yesterday and provided the required customs declaration forms. This is to ensure compliance with custom regulations.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) will impose a penalty on the operator of the A330 for violation of the Civil Aviation Regulations.

The Airbus A330 belonging to Jet Airways, which was carrying passengers from India to South Africa and is now repositioned at OR Tambo, has been found to be without a Foreign Operator Permit (FOP).

The decision by the Authority follows the removal of this aircraft from the Waterkloof Air Force Base as ordered by the Government. The implications of the decision by the Government are that the aircraft is now in the civilian airspace and will be subjected to the provisions of the Civil Aviation Authority legislation and International Air Services Act.  

The Government would like to assure the South African public that no stone will be left unturned to ensure that we get to the bottom of this matter, and hold all those responsible for bringing our country into disrepute, whoever they are and whatever position they hold. We want to assure the South African public that we will do all in our power to strengthen security protocols and to ensure adherence to them.
I thank you.

Enquiries:

Phumla Williams
Acting Chief Executive Officer: GCIS
0835010139
phumla@gcis.gov.za

 

 

 

 

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