Guptagate ‘unites’ ANC – Gwede Mantashe

2013-05-20 14:27

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The saga around the landing of a private plane carrying wedding guests of the Gupta family has “pulled the ANC closer together”, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has said.

Mantashe told reporters at a briefing today in Joburg on the weekend’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting that people wanted to blame President Jacob Zuma for the irregular landing of the jet, but Zuma had not been involved in giving permission for the landing.

Mantashe, who initially reacted sharply to the landing and called for a government investigation, said he didn’t have to belabour his point in the NEC meeting, because it was an internal discussion.

“I am almost like a loudhailer and in that statement I spoke on behalf of the body of the ANC,” he said. Inside the meeting, however, there was no more need to express this outrage, he said, because it would have brought the party to a standstill.

“The ANC asked for a process (of investigation) and after that process we keep quiet.”

Mantashe said the party welcomed the outcome of the investigation, which was done by directors-general of the departments involved. “We appreciate details contained in the report and clarity given. It provides basic information on what happened,” he said.

Read: 10 things worth knowing about the Guptagate probe

The report, which will be released in the course of the week, exonerated ministers and Zuma, and laid the blame for the irregular process of getting permission for the landing squarely at the door of public servants.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe told journalists at a briefing on the report yesterday that Zuma’s name was used in the process of getting permission, together with those of Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Mantashe said name-dropping was nothing new and happened in all organisations. “When you name-drop you exaggerate your weight,” Mantashe said.

“We are confident that the relevant ministers will take the process to its logical conclusion so that this incident does not repeat itself.”

The Gupta issue was discussed extensively at the NEC meeting, and ministers met on the sidelines of the meeting resolved that ministers would not be fingered in the process.

Commenting on attacks against Zuma over the landing, Mantashe said this was part of electioneering. “People see everything and they want to make an entry-point into the elections,” he said. “In the run-up more and more dirt will be dug, it happens all the time.”

Parliament is set to debate the matter on Wednesday and all indications are that the ANC would rally around Zuma, who is unlikely to be present during the debate.

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