North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo has challenged South Africans to open criminal cases against the controversial Gupta family and to stop confusing corruption with state capture, arguing the latter was nowhere to be found in the country.
Mahumapelo, who is among the government officials who have allegedly met the Guptas – who are accused of state capture – at their Saxonwold house, has called for swift action into allegations involving the family.
Speaking at a service delivery dialogue event held in Potchefstroom earlier today, Mahumapelo said: “I want a day on which (Guptas) are going to be charged and found guilty in a court of law ... so far it is just social media, newspapers, press conferences, Liliesleaf Farm and so on (but) no court of law has found anybody guilty.”
While a number of institutions have already cut ties with Gupta-linked businesses amid a cloud hanging over the family, Mahumapelo said his government was not about to follow suit.
“The day (the Guptas) are found guilty, that’s the day we’ll completely disassociate the North West government from them,” he said.
He warned that, if not handled well, the Gupta issue may become racial.
“These matters of the Guptas, if we’re not careful, it may end up becoming an anti-Indian crusade because some of the people when they are angry they say ‘we can’t allow an Indian family to come here and take our wealth’. So it means we’re not dealing with the substance, we’re dealing with race,” he said.
Mahumapelo called for wheels to start rolling on the recommended judicial commission that will look into allegations raised in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.
“I hope the Gupta matters can be dealt with quickly (and) that the judicial commission must sit. But remember it is not called a Gupta judicial commission ... it is a judicial commission to deal with allegations that are there so everybody can go deposit their issues and the law can take its course,” Mahumapelo said.
While the report strongly suggested that there was state capture, Mahumapelo begged to differ saying people should rather refer to it as allegations of corruption.
“The state is the judiciary, Parliament and the executive (and) if you say the Guptas have captured the state you mean they are controlling the judiciary, including Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and the Constitutional Court; they’re controlling Parliament and the executive including committees,” he said.
“I don’t know why, if people want to talk about corruption, they don’t become brave and confront the issue of corruption and say ‘we suspect Guptas are corrupt and must be investigated for corruption’. Leave the capture of state, I think that analogy is wrong.”
The ANC chairperson in the North West, who has over the years earned himself a dominant spot among staunch supporters and defenders of President Jacob Zuma, emphasised over and over that corruption existed but not state capture.
“So deal with corruption ... don’t bring some new thing called state capture,” he said.
“The fact that (Guptas) are seen to be having a closer proximity with the president through his son (Duduzane Zuma) doesn’t mean that they are above the law. All these people who make noise about the Guptas, can you go to the courts, please.”
Mahumapelo said until the highest court in the country was captured, then there was no state capture in South Africa.
“Questions must be asked on whether decisions taken by Mogoeng are influenced by the Guptas. If they are, then he is captured by the Guptas. If not, then there is no state capture.”
He added that if the police “must go to Saxonwold (Guptas’ home) to raid there, what is stopping them? Somebody must open a case.”
But until that time the Guptas must be given the benefit of the doubt.
“The Guptas must be dealt with if they are found to be on the wrong side of the law and there must be no mercy on them,” Mahumapelo said.