Gupta stranglehold over government needs Parliament’s intervention‚ says Maimane
Given Wednesday’s remarkable revelations with regards to the Gupta family and the influence it has over government affairs.
President Jacob Zuma's position is becoming increasingly untenable and he‚ and the ANC‚ need to consider whether he should resign from office‚ or be recalled‚ says Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.
His comments follow the startling admission by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas on Wednesday evening that the Gupta family had offered him the position of Minister of Finance to replace Nhlanhla Nene but that he had rejected it out of hand.
“In expectation that he (President Zuma) will once again shirk responsibility‚ I have today moved a substantive motion in the National Assembly (NA) requesting that the House establish an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the close ties between the Gupta family and President Zuma‚ including their alleged involvement in the capture of State resources and their undue influence over the Executive‚” Maimane said in response to the disclosure.
He added that Parliament‚ enjoined by section 55(2) of the Constitution‚ was duty-bound to oversee the Executive.
“In the wake of ongoing allegations involving the Gupta family and President Zuma‚ the NA must investigate the Gupta family's grip on the State’s resources. If any undue influence or improper conduct is found‚ Parliament should recommend swift action be taken against all those who have compromised their oaths of office.
“South Africa deserves to know if their elected government has allowed the Gupta family to effectively dictate its affairs to the detriment of ordinary South Africans while a few‚ in the Gupta clique‚ get enriched‚” Maimane stated.
The allegations implicating the Gupta family in Executive appointments‚ he said‚ included:
• This week‚ Vytjie Mentor‚ previously the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises alleged that she was offered the position of Minister of Public Enterprises by the Gupta family on condition that she drop the South African Airways‚ South Africa to India route;
• It is alleged that Fikile Mbalula was informed that he would be appointed to the position of Minister of Sports and Recreation by the Gupta family before the President shared this knowledge with him;
• The position of Minister of Finance was allegedly offered to Mcebisi Jonas by members of the Gupta family;
• The appointment of Des van Rooyen to Minister of Finance was allegedly known by the Gupta family beforehand; and
• Two Gupta aligned senior advisors were appointed to National Treasury alongside Des van Rooyen‚ without proper procedure.
“Aside from this‚ the Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration was awarded the tender to provide Eskom with coal just after they bought the Optimum coal mine‚ despite the fact that Glencore‚ who previously owned the mine‚ was denied the Eskom contract on the basis that the coal was sub-standard.
“The Gupta-owned New Age newspaper has also possibly received favour in government advertisements therein‚” Maimane asserted.
“South Africa cannot afford to have the Gupta family pulling at the puppet strings of government. It cannot be that President Zuma’s close ties to one family are overlooked when these ties result in undue influence over government business and tender processes that should be to the benefit of the South African people.
“The influence of the Gupta family cuts across several government departments and thus it is important that an Ad Hoc committee represented by a cross-cutting set of portfolios investigate these allegations and report to this House. It is our belief as the DA that this committee must recommend measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in future to ensure that a fair South Africa is maintained‚” Maimane added.