ANC lodges complaint against Sunday Times for Gupta story

Johannesburg - The ANC has lodged a complaint with the Press Ombudsman about a Sunday Times report alleging the Gupta family tried to influence the appointment of the country’s finance minister.

"We remain convinced that the story sought to undermine the authority of the President of the Republic of South Africa, Comrade Jacob Zuma and impugn the reputation of the DSG by entrenching a narrative of an ANC leadership controlled by the Gupta family," national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

Kodwa said the party and its deputy secretary general (DSG) Jessie Duarte lodged the complaint on Tuesday. They wanted the paper to publish an apology.

The Guptas, who reportedly have strong ties with Zuma, his family and other ANC leaders, have reportedly been influencing political appointments.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that the Guptas had offered the job of finance minister to deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas, two weeks before Nhlanhla Nene was removed in December last year. Jonas reportedly turned down the job.

In the article headlined "How the Guptas shopped for new minister", the paper reported that Zuma’s son Duduzane was at the meeting at a Sandton hotel in November. The newspaper further alleged that Duarte offered Jonas the position a few days later.

Kodwa denied this and said Cabinet appointments were the president’s prerogative.

The Guptas have denied meeting Jonas. 

‘We are confident’

Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko on Monday said the paper stood by its story.

“Anyway‚ at the time of our reporting of this story‚ news of the meeting was already in the public domain‚” Siqoko said in a response to the ANC, published on the Times Live website.

“All we did was to go to people with intimate knowledge of what really happened at the meeting. We are confident of our sources.”

Earlier this week, the ANC said the report was nothing but “gossip mongering being masqueraded as news” and threatened to take legal action against the newspaper.

On Monday, the party said it would meet Jonas to discuss the allegations.

At a national executive committee meeting this weekend, the ANC was expected to get a report back on a meeting the party's top six officials had with the Guptas. 

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