Probe into 'Guptagate' needed - Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

2016-03-18 15:40
Atul Gupta (File, Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Atul Gupta (File, Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation on Friday supported the call for a commission of inquiry into allegations that the Gupta family had been offering politicians ministerial posts.

Executive director Neeshan Balton called on any other public representatives who had been approached in a similar fashion to come forward.

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas on Wednesday confirmed that the family had offered him the position of finance minister shortly before Nhlanhla Nene was sacked in December.

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor said on Facebook on Tuesday that the Guptas offered her the job of public enterprises minister in 2010, before Barbara Hogan was removed from the post. She said President Jacob Zuma led her out of the family's Saxonwold home afterwards.

In an interview with PowerFM on Thursday night, she said the terms were: "Assist with SAA not running the Indian routes anymore... you will become a minister in a week."

Hogan, Kathrada's partner, told Talk Radio 702 on Thursday morning that she had come under pressure to meet a Gupta family-linked airline about its business interests. She refused.

"The rotten forces are on the back foot. I would appeal to those people who believe that they still have to defend Zuma and who have benefited from a close relationship with the Guptas, to now stand back and move on. They are not going to win this battle," she said.

The theory by some was that the family wanted influence over the awarding of contracts, especially one related to South Africa’s proposed nuclear power stations.

In a spread in their New Age newspaper on Friday, the Guptas denied the claims. They felt they were being made a scapegoat for all of South Africa's problems and regarded the accusations as xenophobic. Its Shiva uranium mine would be out of commission by the time building started, they said.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said the proud struggle legacy of the country's leaders should not be lost because of one family trying to wield power over politicians.

Earlier in March, the SA Communist Party called for a commission of inquiry into the family's business dealings. On Thursday, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said Parliament should set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the allegations.

Zuma insisted in Parliament on Thursday that he was the only person allowed to appoint ministers and deputy ministers.

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