DA demands answers from Gordhan over Gupta kingmaker claim

2016-03-15 20:00
(Rodger Bosch, AFP)

(Rodger Bosch, AFP)

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Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance has demanded Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan say whether Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas was offered the position of finance minister ahead of him during a meeting with the Guptas last year.

"In the end if the deputy minister gave the middle finger to the Guptas he has nothing to hide," said MP, David Maynier, in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Gordhan looked up from a file he had been writing in when Maynier spoke.

During the members' statements, Maynier said it was not good enough for Gordhan to say he had no personal knowledge of this reported meeting.

"The minister's refusal to confirm or deny suggests that the report is true," said Maynier.

Jonas offered job

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande had joined Gordhan at his pew when Maynier loudly made his statement, but he and Gordhan merely smiled in response.

Gordhan left the House for about 10 minutes afterwards while the DA shouted: "Where is the minister?", but he returned later.

The Sunday Times reported that on about November 27, the Guptas had offered the job of finance minister to Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, two weeks before Nhlanhla Nene was removed from the position in December last year in what has become known as '9/12'.

Jonas reportedly turned down the job.

Speaking after an international trip to stave off a possible Moody's ratings downgrade, Gordhan said on Monday that he had no personal knowledge of the matter.

Support nuclear build programme

In the article headlined 'How the Guptas shopped for new minister', the newspaper reported that President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, was at the meeting held at a Sandton hotel and that ANC deputy secretary general, Jessie Duarte, offered Jonas the position a few days later.

Maynier said the reported offer was conditional on Jonas supporting South Africa's controversial planned nuclear build programme.

In addition to this claim, Gordhan was also dealing with growing hostility from the Hawks over 27 questions he was supposed to have answered on a "rogue unit" in the SA Revenue Service.

Gordhan has said he was busy lobbying investors and preparing the annual budget so had not had time to reply as yet.

In the meantime, former senior ANC MP and chairperson of the portfolio committee on public works, Vytjie Mentor, has claimed the Gupta family had previously offered her the post of minister of public enterprises provided she give the South Africa-India SAA route to the them.

In December last year, Zuma faced a backlash after he replaced Nene with Des Van Rooyen, a relative unknown. Four days later Van Rooyen was removed and Gordhan reinstalled for his second term as finance minister.

Read more on:    da  |  pravin gordhan  |  mcebisi jonas  |  gupta family  |  politics

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