Waterkloof 2?

Issued by Angel Khanyile MP – DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
25 Apr 2023 in News

DA submits PAIA to Eastern Cape Premier for plans to lease Bulembu airport to UAE

Please find attached a soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP.

The DA has submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to the Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, requesting that he provides us with a record of decision that informed his government’s plan to lease a portion of the government owned Bulembu Airport in Bhisho to the President of the UAE and his family. Bizarrely, according to this plan, it is suggested that the UAE royals will share the airport with the military and the police’s airwing unit.

This apparent deal is increasingly reminiscent of the Waterkloof scandal in 2013 when the Gupta family landed a private aircraft at Waterkloof Air Force Base carrying 270 guests.

Mabuyane must provide the basis upon which a Provincial government took the decision to open up a national key point to part ownership by private interests, in this case the UAE royals. In addition, cognisant of the fact that Bulembu Airport was now being used by the military and the police, Mabuyane has to explain where he obtained the authority to decide how the aiport will be shared with UAE royals.

Ever since the news broke about the special access granted to the UAE royals through the Bulembu Airport, the Department of Home Affairs and the Eastern Cape government have failed to provide coherent answers on key legal compliance requirements.

Yesterday, the DA asked Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to provide proof that his designation of the Bulembu Airport as a temporary international port of entry had complied with section 30(3) of the Border Management Authority which requires that the “The Minister must, prior to an approval… publish a notice in the Gazette for public comments for a period of not less than 30 days”.

Serious questions need to be asked on why the UAE royals were given the privilege for special entry through an entry point of their choosing when they could have used South Africa’s regular immigration entry points.

The message that Motsoaledi and Mabuyane communicated to South Africans, though this unprecedented action is that, any foreign national can enter the country at any place of their choosing as long as they pay the right price.