Zuma unaware that Guptas influence ministers

2011-02-27 22:52

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is unaware of any ministers or deputy ministers being influenced by "individuals" in making key government decisions, the Presidency said on Sunday.

"If this happens as alleged, it is shocking and totally unacceptable," The Presidency said.

"The President strongly condemns such behaviour from whatever quarter it emanates from.

"No member of Cabinet or government official should be pressured by anybody in the manner in which they do their jobs."

The Sunday Times reported that a revolt was brewing in the ANC and its alliance partners against the influence of the Gupta family over Zuma and his government.

The newspaper said it "understands" that the Guptas' role in influencing the appointment of CEOs and chairpeople in key state-owned enterprises was recently raised at a an ANC National Working Committee meeting and would be formerly discussed at its next gathering in a week's time.

This would pave the way for the powerful ANC National Executive Committee to probe the matter at its sitting in March.

Guptas wield power

ANC deployment committee members revealed at a meeting last Monday that new Transnet CEO Brian Molefe, believed to be favoured by the Guptas, had been appointed by the cabinet without their say.

The Gupta brothers - Atul, Ajay and Rajesh, also known as Tony - are said to wield so much power that they often summon cabinet ministers and senior government officials to their family compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

The Guptas, through family spokesperson Gary Naidoo, dismissed the allegations as "rubbish" and said they were an attempt to "denigrate" Zuma and his office.

The Presidency rejected "insinuations" that Zuma's relationship with the family was impacting on his work.

"The Presidency rejects insinuations that the relationship impacts in any way on the President's work in running Cabinet and the country.

"The allegation that persons other than the President could have informed members of Cabinet and deputy ministers of the changes in Cabinet is preposterous.

"The President personally informed all affected persons of the changes to Cabinet after making his decision, in consultation with officials of the ruling party."

- SAPA

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