Bruce Koloane threw himself under the proverbial bus when he told the Inquiry into State Capture that he had lied about former president Jacob Zuma giving the Guptas permission to land at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.
Koloane worked as chargé d’affaires at the South African embassy in Beijing before becoming South Africa’s ambassador to Spain. He then returned to SA in 2010 where he took up the position as chief of state protocol.
During his testimony on Tuesday, Koloane told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that had used the former presidents name as well as Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and former transport Minister Ben Martins to obtain flight clearance for the Gupta’s 200 wedding guests from Waterkloof-based Major Thabo Ntshisi and Colonel Christine Anderson.
The Citizen reported that this was a national security breach and the incident was an embarrassment to the Zuma administration. The former Indian high commissioner Virendra Gupta solicited the flight clearance certificate for the landing at Waterkloof via Koloane.
Koloane said he was ashamed about his error in judgement and for having misused the names of those in power in order to speed-up the flight clearance.
He admitted to Judge Zondo that he was name dropping and neither the former president nor the ministers gave instructions to handle the flight clearance, and he accepted full responsibility for putting pressure on the Air force officials.
When asked by commission senior counsel Thandi Norman as to why on the first day of testimony he claimed to have no recollection of the incident, Koloane said the voice recordings had jogged his memory as the incident took place six years ago.
Koloane also stated that he had not gained from the processing of the flight clearance