Politics

Bruce Koloane wasn't demoted due to labour laws - Nkoana-Mashabane

Bruce Koloane wasn't demoted due to labour laws - Nkoana-Mashabane

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Women and Children Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has told the state capture commission of injury she would have contravened labour laws had she demoted Bruce Koloane for allowing the Guptas to illegally land a private plane at the Waterkloof Airforce base in 2013.

Nkoana-Mashabane was the minister of international relations at the time.

On Thursday, she told the inquiry she was taken by surprise when the Guptas’ jet touched down at the base, ferrying guests destined for a lavish family wedding at Sun City.

Koloane, the former chief of state protocol, was recently recalled as an ambassador to the Netherlands after admitting at the inquiry earlier this year that he abused his power to satisfy the Guptas.

Nkoana-Mashabane confirmed to the commission that she signed off on the sanctions against Koloane. He was suspended for two months without pay and given a final written warning.

“I got involved when the results came out of the disciplinary process. I signed off [on the sanctions] and he went to serve his term and came back,” she said.

The minister said Koloane couldn’t be demoted.

“We couldn’t demote him, he was a DDG [deputy director general] sitting in the DG’s office doing manual work that a director would do for all that period. His salary was paid at the DDG level and he had gone through the disciplinary process in terms of labour laws. He never went back where he was serving before,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

But questions were raised about whether the two months without pay and a final written warning were appropriate sanctions for playing a key role in breaching the country’s national security.

KOLOANE’S AMBASSADORSHIP IN QUESTION

At the same time, Nkoana-Mashabane defended her decision to recommend Koloane as an ambassador to the Netherlands after he abused his powers and breached national security in the Waterkloof landing debacle.

The minister said she had recommended Koloane for that post.

“I’ve said in the affidavit that it must be noted that Mr Koloane was the most eligible among the DDGs and he also had a top-secret clearance certificate. When Mr Koloane was recommended for the post to The Hague, he had already completed his sanction,” she said.

Nkoana-Mashabane said when Koloane was in the Netherlands, he showed no signs of repeating what happened with the Gupta landing fiasco.

WATCH: Zondo Inquiry hears Gupta landing explanation from Nkoana-Mashabane