THE African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee (NEC) on Sunday reaffirmed that it had confidence in President Jacob Zuma, despite allegations that the politically connected Gupta family were influencing Cabinet appointments.
This follows a difficult week where allegations surfaced that the family, said to be close to Mr Zuma, had been offering Cabinet positions.
“The appointment of ministers and deputy ministers is the sole prerogative of the President of the Republic, in line with the Constitution,” ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Pretoria.
“To this end, the ANC continues to confirm its full confidence in our president.”
He said the NEC had “frank and robust” discussions on the allegations surrounding the Guptas.
“We reject the notion of any business or family group seeking such influence over the ANC with the contempt it deserves while also recognising the need to act to protect the integrity of our government and our organisation.”
The family is believed to wield significant political influence in the country.
This once again came into the spotlight this week when Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas confirmed that the Guptas had offered him the job of finance minister before Nhlanhla Nene was removed. However, Mr Jonas said he refused the offer.
Another former ANC MP and parliamentary caucus chairperson Vytjie Mentor also alleged that in 2010 she met with the Guptas at their Saxonwold home where they offered her the job of public enterprise minister before Barbara Hogan was removed.
The family has denied both claims and has challenged Mr Jonas and Ms Mentor to provide proof.
On Thursday, Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi confirmed that he had also been invited to the Gupta family home. This was after he was appointed mineral resources minister.
He was later replaced by ANC MP Mosebenzi Zwane, who was said to have ties to the Guptas.
On Sunday, another report surfaced that former Government Communication and Information System head Themba Maseko was called by Mr Zuma, prior to a meeting with the Guptas in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, and asked to “help them”.
At the meeting it is alleged that Ajay Gupta wanted government advertising to be channelled to The New Age newspaper. It is alleged that Gupta told Me Maseko: “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.”
Mr Mantashe said the ANC NEC had mandated officials and ther national working committee to gather “pertinent” information about the allegations so that the party could take appropriate action.
He also called on all ANC members who had any information to approach his office.
The NEC would develop a code of conduct for ANC members who were doing business with the state, Mr Mantashe said.