Buthelezi: My single visit to the Gupta home is not newsworthy

2017-05-30 13:15
Mangosuthu Buthelezi. (File, Netwerk24)

Mangosuthu Buthelezi. (File, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Tuesday lashed out at a report detailing logistics for the single visit he made to the Gupta homestead in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

Mention was made in The Times of an email his parliamentary office sent to Tony Gupta in 2016 requesting diabetic-friendly food for their lunch.

"It's absurd that this was considered newsworthy. When one is invited to lunch, the host routinely asks about one's dietary requirements," he said in a statement.

"For decades my office has routinely advised that I am diabetic, and provides the necessary guidance."

He provided background to the lunch, which was apparently used as an opportunity by Gupta to explain all the family had done for SA.


Buthelezi stressed that it was his first and last interaction with the Gupta family.

In 2013, he had never personally met the Guptas but received an invitation to a three-day family wedding.

"Ministers and former ministers had been invited, and I presumed that I had been included on the guest list as the former minister of home affairs. I therefore honoured the invitation, but only stayed for the actual ceremony."

While there he met Tony Gupta, who apparently then asked that they have lunch whenever he was in Johannesburg again.

Buthelezi said they had no further contact until February 2016.

Gupta heard he was going to be in Johannesburg for the funeral of Professor Herbert Vilakazi and phoned his secretary to renew his invitation.

He was accompanied by his son Prince Zuzifa Buthelezi.

"Having neglected Mr Gupta's invitation for so long, I agreed to stop at his house after the funeral, on the way to the airport. My son and I would be able to have a brief lunch with him," he said.

'Respected leaders'

His secretary sent a single email on February 5 to Gupta to confirm this.

"It is unclear why the leaked email is allegedly dated 2 May."

He said the email was purely logistical, which is why the newspaper could find nothing more interesting than reporting on his dietary requirements.

The Buthelezis arrived at the Gupta homestead as planned.

"Over lunch, he made a presentation on the background of the Gupta family, of how they had started from nothing and grown their business to the point of being able to create jobs for South Africans," Buthelezi said.

"He spoke about all that the family had done for this, their adopted country. He even provided me with a written presentation."

Tony Gupta apparently felt it important that "respected leaders" understand their side of the story.

He sought advice on what the family should do to rectify the negative image being created about them, said Buthelezi.

"I advised him that they should publicise their side of the story. That was the extent of our conversation."

They thanked Gupta for lunch and left for the airport.

"I went in broad daylight, and I have no qualms about what was discussed. This is simply not a story worth telling."

Read more on:    ifp  |  mangosuthu buthelezi  |  gupta family  |  durban  |  gupta emails

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