For a few hours on the day before Nelson Mandela’s funeral, international heads of state were banging down at Waterkloof like Highveld hailstones. Whether we liked it or not. A 2013 memo by the US Defense Intelligence Agency put a less meteorological, and more worrying, spin on the morning’s chaos: between 2am and 6am, it claimed, several aircraft "disregarded host nation guidance and proceeded to land at [Waterkloof] without landing clearance". And then the important part: "To not have to admit to allowing uncleared aircraft to land at the SAAF base‚ the South Africa Overflight office issued verbal landing clearance to [Waterkloof] as the uncleared aircraft touched down at Waterkloof." Of course this wasn’t the first time a dodgy arrival at Waterkloof had to be fudged to save face: earlier that year the Guptas had hijacked the airbase for a family wedding. (In retrospect, they really did show us exactly who they were, didn’t they?) Now we are listening to warnings that a third set ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.