‘Threats of legal action won’t make Gupta job offer story go away’
The African National Congress’ (ANC) Zizi Kodwa again sought to dismiss claims in the Sunday Times about the alleged Gupta family’s finance minister job offer to Mcebisi Jonas.
This came a day after the ruling party spokesperson had issued a statement describing the newspaper’s report – which also claimed that its deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte had also approached Jonas about the post – as “gossip mongering being masqueraded as news”.
Kodwa told 702 on Monday: “The mention of the name of deputy secretary-general was nothing but a way to legitimise the gossip.”
He said the party would also like answers from Jonas on the allegations: “We'd like to hear from him exactly what transpired‚ whether there is proof in the allegation of the meeting.”
The Congress of the People (Cope) on Monday challenged Duarte and Jonas – as well as ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe – “to break their silence and tell the country the whole truth”.
Jonas was singled out by Cope’s Dennis Bloem who said he “must under oath tell whether or not he met with the Gupta brothers in November 2015”.
“It will be in the best interest of the country. It will be better sooner rather than later for the truth to come out‚” Bloem said.
“Denials and threats of legal action against a newspaper will not make the story go away.”
Kodwa had on Sunday said the party “will be approaching the Press Ombudsman to seek relief against the poor and shoddy journalism of the Sunday Times” and that Duarte “will further seek legal advice on her options with regards to the lies being peddled about her by the paper”.
But Cope’s Bloem said this would be pointless‚ as “whether the ANC wants to admit it or not‚ Mr Zuma’s relationship with the Gupta family has become a hot potato”.
“No president of a country should have such close ties with a business family that it can interfere with the running of the state. Such a relationship is unholy‚” he added.
The Gupta family had‚ on Sunday‚ issued a statement to say “there was no meeting at all” and that it challenges “the faceless purveyors of these lies to provide evidence of any of these allegations”.
The Sunday Times reported that shortly after Jonas turned the Guptas down‚ his superior Nhlanhla Nene was axed by Zuma and replaced by unknown Des van Rooyen.
Van Rooyen was quickly replaced after markets showed their displeasure with his appointment‚ and made way for Pravin Gordhan‚ who is due to speak at the JSE on Monday afternoon about his investor road show in the US and Europe.