Most couples want a wedding of fairy tale proportions and they plan for it for many months. Some weddings are glamorous and extravagant because no expense is spared to make this special day an unforgettable one. In rare cases, the state also chips in where it can. One such case is the wedding of Vega Gupta and her groom, Aakash Jahajgarhia.
The couple just had to use the landing facilities at the Waterkloof Air Force Base close to Pretoria for their guests. The wedding party boasted Bollywood entertainers and a host of politicians and other dignitaries. The passengers were then escorted from the base by a full police escort to their accommodation in Sun City where the wedding was held.
The wedding had all the trimmings of a lavish occasion. On the face of it, nothing seems amiss except; the landing base is restricted for use in state matters. The family landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base without the necessary authorisation, which probably would not have been granted had the proper channels been followed.
South Africans were vocal in their objection to this blatant disregard for state protocol. The Gupta family owns The New Age newspaper and the successful brand, Sahara Computers. They also have a close association with President Jacob Zuma. It is this connection to the presidency that the country believes was abused. President Zuma did not attend the Gupta wedding.
News24 reported that the Gupta family has released a statement to apologize for their part in the scandal that has been dubbed ‘Guptagate’. However, the apology will not hinder the on-going investigation into the landing saga. South Africans are unconvinced by the apology that seems intended more for the guests who were ejected from the base than for South Africans. The wedding party had to travel back home via OR Tambo International Airport. Spokesperson for the Guptas, Atul Gupta, said: “The family would like to issue a general apology to all affected, including the South African and Indian governments, the local authorities, the South African public and especially our guests.”
The Gupta family will definitely never forget Vega’s wedding but neither will the people who have been suspended as a result of the scandal. Bruce Koloane has been suspended. He is the Chief of State Protocol for the Foreign Ministry. Virenda Gupta is one of the diplomats who have come under scrutiny. He supposedly requested permission for the landing but as things stand, no one can say for sure who granted him this ‘permission’. Apology considered; the inquiry intends to answer this question: “Who granted the Guptas permission to land at the restricted Waterkloof Air Force Base?”