Former transport minister Ben Martins told the Commission of Inquiry that he was not aware that the Gupta wedding plane landed at Air Force Base Waterkloof.
In 2013 the Gupta family demanded that their 200 Indian guests arrive with a tarmac reception at OR Tambo International Airport. This is a service which is reserved for visiting heads of state.
Martins explained that the plane was denied permission to land at OR Tambo International as it did not have the required foreign operator permit and therefore landing at Waterkloof was illegal.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was told that the Gupas’ allegedly used their ties with former president Jacob Zuma in order to get their chartered Jet airways plane permission to land.
According to The Citizen, Martins told the Commission that a meeting had been held at the Intercontinental Hotel with Tony Gupta, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) acting chief executive Bongani Maseko and former chief of state protocol Bruce Koloane a month before the extravagant wedding.
During the meeting the Guptas’ requested the tarmac reception at OR Tambo but Martins advised Tony Gupta that the jurisdiction rested with Home Affairs. He told them to land the aircraft at Lanseria or Pilanesberg airports.
He later heard from the Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS) that the plan had landed at Waterkloof without a requisite.
During cross-examination Martins admitted to having met the Guptas at their Saxonwold compound twice but had maintained a professional relationship and denied facilitating any business deals with the family.