While the ANC has been rocked by allegations that president Jacob Zuma’s buddies, the Gupta family members, have been offering cabinet jobs on behalf of government, the ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe told reporters this matter is not on the agenda.
“We are getting into the discussion now. There is no item on that matter, that is a standalone item in the NEC of the ANC. If it comes, it will be during the course of discussions. I’m saying, that issue will come, if it comes in the debate. In the discussion of the NEC there is no standalone item in the agenda about all those issues.”
Mantashe said his (own personal) feelings and views on the matter did not matter at this stage.
“I’m the secretary-general of the ANC. My personal views and feelings count for nought. It is the structure that is sitting now that will make pronouncements on issues. What comes out of the structural meeting is what is going to prevail,” he told the ANA news agency.
Mantashe said the revelations and calls from senior politicians to act on the alleged interference of the influential Gupta family in decisions taken by President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet ministers had not put the NEC delegates under any pressure.
“The NEC doesn’t work that way. The ANC is having a very important document called the Constitution. It is not about the NEC working because who is the loudest (and) when. It doesn’t work that way.”
Meanwhile the official opposition, the DA, says there is growing evidence to suggest that a number of state owned entities (SOEs) have been captured by the Guptas, with the family allegedly influencing not only ministerial appointments, but also appointments within SOEs themselves.
In light of the mounting allegations of influence and interference by the family the DA will request that the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises conducts a full parliamentary inquiry into the capture of SOEs by the Guptas.
In a report Friday by the weekly The Mail & Guardian newspaper it was alleged that former Chairperson of Eskom, Zola Tsotsi’s forced resignation was orchestrated by the Guptas because he was “not playing the game.” This was after Tsotsi informed the Guptas that he could not grant them exclusivity over certain Eskom contracts.
The allegations by Tsotsi follow a number of similar accusations that have come to light. They are:
- A claim by former Minister of Public Enterprises, Barbara Hogan, that she was placed under immense pressure to meet with Gupta-linked Indian airline Jet Airways, the airline responsible for landing the Gupta’s wedding guests at Waterkloof air force base in Pretoria. Hogan was replaced by Malusi Gigaba, who is known to have attended the Gupta wedding in 2013.
- Claims by former senior ANC MP, Vytjie Mentor, that she had been offered the position of Minister of Public Enterprises on the condition that she drop the SAA route to India and give it to Jet Airways instead.
- Allegations by former SAA Chairperson, Vuyisile Kona, that he was offered R500,000 by the Gupta family in 2012 to secure his co-operation with him.
- Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe, admitting to visiting the Guptas shortly before the Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration secured lucrative contracts to supply coal to Eskom power stations.
The DA says these allegations necessitate an urgent investigation into the Guptas’ links to SOEs by the portfolio committee. The committee must:
- Immediately summon the Guptas to appear before it to answer to these allegations as per my letter to the Committee Chairperson in this regard. The Chairperson is yet to respond to this request, raising the question of who he is trying to protect.
- Call former Ministers of Public Enterprises, Barbara Hogan and Malusi Gigaba, to provide full details of their relationship with the Gupta family. Gigaba in particular must account for allegations of preferential treatment of the Guptas for state contracts during his tenure.
- Summon the CEOs and Chairpersons of the largest SOEs to appear before it to answer questions about their ties to the Guptas.
South Africa’s largest SOEs – including SAA, Eskom, SANRAL, PETROSA, SAPO and PRASA – made a combined loss of R15.5 billion for the 2014/2015 financial year and are currently holding R408.9 billion in government guarantees between them.