Mahumapelo defends visits to Gupta compound

2017-06-14 19:44
Supra Mahamupelo (Genevieve Quintal, News24)

Supra Mahamupelo (Genevieve Quintal, News24)

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Johannesburg – The North West government will only cut ties with the Guptas if a court finds them guilty of wrongdoing, Supra Mahumapelo has said.

In addition, there was nothing wrong with his visits to the Gupta’s Saxonwold, Johannesburg, compound, he told News24 in a phone interview this week.

“I am not an elitist premier who believes people can only find me in my office. Where we are now, there’s no proof to the effect of any law having been broken,” he said.

Mahumapelo is mentioned in a series of emails leaked from the Gupta family, which contain revelations that they allegedly influenced President Jacob Zuma’s decisions and interfered in the running of state-owned enterprises.

Other officials who allegedly visited the Guptas in Saxonwold include Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, Co-operative Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen, and former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe.

“What’s wrong with meeting them at their compound?” he asked.

He said he had met several farmers at their homes and dined with them over a plate of potjiekos.

Mahumapelo said meeting business people was part of his responsibility as premier, listing several business leaders he has engaged with in their personal space, these include; Valli Moosa from Sun International, who he met with at his Sandton home, Popo Molefe, Cheryl Carolus from Alpha Cement Mine, Wesizwe platinum mine, Impala and Lonmin among many others. The premier’s director general has also held talks with ABSA bank’s Maria Ramos.

“We’ve met with many more people to push the interests of our villages, townships and small dorpie economies,” said Mahumapelo.

He played down the content of the emails, despite indications that some ministers leaked confidential Cabinet memos to the family. He questioned why there was an issue with the family’s communication, but no questions were being asked about the interaction of other private companies with public officials.

“I want to know if all these other companies in South Africa, when they meet with ministers and so on, don’t they email them?” he asked.

During his state of the province address in February, he said there was nothing sinister in the family wanting to invest in the platinum-rich region.

Mahumapelo defended his decision to fire SACP provincial secretary Madoda Samabatha from his post of public works MEC in June, for allegedly selling land illegally. In addition, he had been vocal in his criticism of the ANC and had called for ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to be elected as Zuma’s successor at the party’s elective conference in December.

Samabatha denied these claims and said his sacking had more to do with factional battles in the ANC and his criticism of the Gupta family.

“He has never discussed that matter with me personally. I just hear him talking about it in the media,” Mahumapelo said.

SPECIAL REPORT: #GuptaLeaks


Read more on:    anc  |  gupta family  |  supra mahumapelo  |  gupta emails  |  gupta leaks

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