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Press Statement from Southern African Bishops’ Conference
An Explanation is Urgently Needed
The government owes South Africans a thorough, and quick, explanation for the apparent misuse of state property and personnel by those associated with the Gupta family wedding.
The deployment of the police flying squad and other elements of the security forces, the use of an air-force base by a privately-chartered jet, and the fact that the customs and excise authorities were kept in the dark, all point to some extremely irregular decision-making at a very high level.
The situation has not been helped by the way in which various government spokespeople, including the Presidential spokesperson, have either declined to comment, or have merely disclaimed responsibility. This only serves to heighten suspicions about who ultimately authorised such special treatment for a private wedding-party.
This whole episode merely reinforces the perception that people who are well-connected politically do not have to observe the same rules as ordinary citizens.
It is of particular concern that – according to newspaper reports – some 60 police officers were involved in escorting guests and equipment to Sun City, and that specialist police officers remained at the venue as protection for the visitors.
The SA Police Services should busy itself with combating crime, for which there is a crying need, not with providing a private security service at taxpayers’ expense.
We are encouraged to note that political parties across the board have spoken out strongly against these irregularities, and we hope that government will act promptly to discipline whoever was responsible for them. We cannot afford to gain the reputation of being a country where it is ‘who you know’ that counts, and where wealth can buy privileged treatment from the authorities.
Archbishop Stephen Brislin
Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
3rd May 2013 09h00
Adv Mike Pothier
12 Bouquet St
Tel: 021 461 1417
Fax: 021 461 6961
Cell: 083 309 3512