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Sandu to serve notice to SANDF over Gupta plane saga

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The SA National Defence Union (Sandu) plans to serve a notice on the SANDF on Monday that they will approach a high court for relief over the Gupta plane saga, The Star reported on Monday.

“What we will say in our notice is they have 30 days to provide us with a court date when the trial will commence, or otherwise [they must] withdraw the charges,” Sandu secretary Pikkie Greeff was quoted as saying.

He told the newspaper two of its members — Lt-Col Christine Anderson and Lt-Col Stephanus van Zyl — who are accused of being involved in the controversy still do not know when, or even if, they will stand trial. They are on paid suspension from the SA National Defence Force.

“What our lawyers explained to me is that the SANDF have been playing cat and mouse about some extra statements they want to obtain,” said Greeff.

“This would either relate to withdrawing charges or adding extra charges.”

Department of defence spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini declined to comment on the case.

In October, Anderson and Van Zyl were handed a preliminary charge sheet indicating that they disobeyed a written order.

A chartered commercial aircraft from India, ferrying more than 200 guests for the wedding of Vega Gupta, whose family has business interests in South Africa, and Aakash Jahajgarhia, landed at the Waterkloof Air Force base in April last year.

The passengers were then transported, either by light aircraft, helicopter or in police-escorted vehicles to the ceremony at Sun City in the North West.

The landing sparked widespread criticism and several investigations were launched. A government investigation exonerated President Jacob Zuma and his ministers, and found the landing was the result of “collusion by officials”. SAPA

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