I am still too ashamed to face Zuma – Koloane

Former head of state protocol yet to apologise for using former president's name to facilitate Gupta Waterkloof landing

I am still too ashamed to face Zuma, Koloane explains after he wrongly used his name

9 July 2019

Former head of state protocol Bruce Koloane says he has never apologised to former president Jacob Zuma and two ministers for using their names to facilitate the Gupta Waterkloof landing in 2013.

The Gupta family landed a commercial aircraft at the air force base without permission. It carried about 200 guests who were invited to attend the family's lavish wedding at Sun City.

Koloane, who is now South Africa's ambassador to the Netherlands, admitted that he "name dropped" to pressure officials to expedite the processing of the flight clearance request for the Gupta aircraft landing.

However, he added that "the Minister of Transport, nor the Minister of Defence, nor the president did not at any stage communicate to me that I should in any way deal with this matter, as it is expressed".

He was asked if he apologised to Zuma and then transport minister Ben Martins and Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula after he wrongly used their names to expedite the processing of the flight clearance request.

But Koloane said he did not.

He said although there were articles in the media regarding former president Jacob Zuma, "I did not go back to him out of shame because I was too ashamed to even face him".

"Understanding the gravity of what I've done. I couldn't get myself to look him in the eye to say: 'I am sorry.' I had wrongfully used his name to put pressure on the officials to process the flight clearance application.

"I am ashamed now. Although I am admitting the guilt, it doesn't make me feel good or any better," he told inquiry chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Koloane said it was wrong of him to use their names and that it could potentially taint their reputation and image.

He told Zondo he was prepared to apologise to them in writing because he was still too ashamed to apologise in person.