Indian envoy creates furore after landing chartered jet at Waterkloof SA for niece's wedding

Last Updated: Fri, May 03, 2013 05:50 hrs

Indian High Commissioner in South Africa Virendra Gupta has created a furore after landing a chartered jet at Waterkloof Air Force Base to carry guests for his niece's wedding.

Gupta, however, said that special permission to land a chartered jet at Waterkloof - a national key point - was obtained for security reasons.

The Gupta family, which owns The New Age newspaper and Sahara Computers, is celebrating the wedding of Vega Gupta, 23, to Indian-born Aaskash Jahajgarhia at Sun City in North West, reports News24.

Gupta said they had applied for permission for the landing, because there were several VIPs, senior political figures from India who were going to come on the flight. He said there was a concern about security when senior political figures travelled abroad.

The Gupta family chartered jet was moved off Waterkloof on Thursday afternoon after widespread outrage about private use of a military facility.

News of the aircraft landing angered political parties and organisations including the ANC, DA, IFP, Cosatu, and the SA Communist Party.

The Gupta family bemoaned what it described as "negative reporting" around the wedding. The family said in a statement that it was planned as a destination wedding to tempt other Indian families to use South Africa as a venue, instead of going to Mauritius or Thailand.

The family said it had not been directly involved in the Waterkloof incident, but had been assured by the Indian High Commission that proper processes were followed and agreements reached with the appropriate officials.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said national police commissioner Riah Phiyega had launched an internal investigation into the wedding saga.

President Jacob Zuma's nephew Khulubuse Zuma and former minister Essop Pahad were among the guests at the wedding. (ANI)

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