Allegations that members of the influential Gupta family have attempted to interfere with government deployments are on the agenda of the ANC’s national executive committee meeting this weekend.
ANC head of policy Jeff Radebe told journalists at an ANC breakfast briefing in Johannesburg today on the local government elections that the ANC’s top six leaders met the family “about two weeks ago”.
He said he wasn’t in the meeting, but “I assume that they might report [this] in this coming national executive committee”, whose weekend meeting is expected to start on Friday.
The Gupta family has a number of business interests, including those linked to President Jacob Zuma’s family members and the relations of other ANC leaders.
The Sunday Times on the weekend carried a story alleging that the Gupta family tried to offer the deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, the job of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene. The Financial Times and the Daily Maverick also carried this story.
This allegation was denied by the Guptas and the ANC.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the ANC was concerned about “state capture” and various business interests in South Africa, but added that this went beyond just one family.
He said officials had meetings with various companies, such as Anglo American, but when these companies expand their portfolios, they don’t do so inside South Africa.
In response to a question by journalists about whether the ANC still had confidence in Zuma’s leadership with regard to winning elections, Kodwa responded that the party had “no reason to doubt his leadership. He will lead us into a successful, overwhelming election.” Radebe earlier did not respond to this question.
But Radebe said the ANC was concerned about the public nature of the spat between the crimefighting unit, the Hawks, and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
“We have noted the reports highlighted in Sunday Independent in particular,” he said, referring to a letter written by the Hawks to Gordhan to demand a response to their 27 questions by the end of today (March 14). Gordhan said in a statement said that he had not received this letter and that the Hawks had not responded to his questions about the purpose of their questions.
Radebe said: “I’m talking as ANC; we will prefer that these matters must be ventilated in appropriate forums in government where they originated, not in the public domain.
“The presidency, as well as government, issued a statement about two weeks ago, saying the forum is in government for these matters. So we can only express our concern as the ANC that this matter is in the public domain which creates a very not so good public spat.”