Don’t assume Zuma is a Gupta lackey - Zikalala

Sihle Zikalala (Amanda Khoza, News24)
Sihle Zikalala (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala has cautioned against making any judgements about the relationship between President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family.

This in spite him joining a growing chorus rejecting the Guptas and calling for an investigation into the family.

"You are now making a judgement," Zikalala replied when asked for his thoughts on claims that Zuma served at the pleasure of the Guptas.

"There is a commission that is proposed. The commission must be allowed to do its work. It must express itself on that," he said.

The Guptas, who are close associates of the president, have been placed at the centre of a trove of leaked emails, showing a trail of how the family allegedly captured the state. The #GuptaLeaks show evidence of corruption, kickbacks and political influence over members of the executive and directors of state-owned enterprises.

VISIT our #GuptaEmails Special Report

"Business people must do business according to law on their own. They must not depend on influencing politicians and people who are in the administration, and that is what we mean when we say we need space to run the government and the ANC," said Zikalala, who was explaining his and Mpumalanga ANC chairperson David Mabuza’s stance on the family.

Zikalala was speaking to journalists in Boksburg on Monday. Earlier he and Mabuza told journalists at a media briefing in Mbombela that they wanted the Guptas to be investigated properly.

Mabuza said they wanted to distance themselves from the negative aspects that went with the relationship between Zuma and the Guptas.

'Monopoly capital is race based'

Zikalala, who is understood to be a staunch Zuma supporter, said it was not the right approach to view the president as a lackey of the Guptas, even if his son was in business with the family, and there had been allegations that the family had undue influence over the president - including some of his key decisions, like the appointment of ministers and operations at SOEs.

"The ANC can't carry the burden of being blamed for things said to be done by other people like the Guptas, hence we are saying the ANC must be clear from any parasitic bourgeoisie which undermine the revolution," said Zikalala.

Zikalala also said he refused to accept that the enemy of the national democratic revolution was just monopoly capital, and insisted that it was race based.

"I stand by my view; the report was not a factual expression of the discussion in commissions," he said of the report delivered by ANC policy guru Joel Netshitenzhe during the ANC’s policy conference in July.

He said it was wrong of Netshitenzhe to tell journalists that nine out of the 11 commissions had agreed that there was no such thing as white monopoly capital.

"It’s unfortunate that they spoke about that issue only. They came here to debate the issue of white monopoly capital and they went out to report it. Who said what on the issue of land expropriation, they are quiet," said Zikalala.

He said those who gave report backs on the economic transformation commission had failed to announce that there was an overwhelming support for the expropriation of land with no compensation. 

"I must tell you there was overwhelming support for expropriation with no compensation."

'Amend the Constitution'

"They don't tell you some of them tried their best to convince delegates on land, but delegates said: 'Never mind whether it is EFF or IFP, but once we take this decision, please ANC, go and speak with the parties in Parliament that are dominated by Africans, beg them and engage them politically so that we amend the Constitution,'" said Zikalala.

Zikalala then used a series of examples to explain why he thought his point of view on the ongoing debate was correct.

"Take the financial sector - you've got four known banks and the others. To enter that space is difficult, because those monopolies will just ensure that they close the space," he said.

He said that in his province, where there was an abundance of sugar cane, there were companies that processed sugar and made it, but that only two controlled it. He pointed to Illovo, saying the company was not in SA, but the UK.

"Illovo delisted and moved out of South Africa, listed in the UK because they are owned there before comrade [Nkosazana] Dlamini-Zuma was ever nominated. Illovo ownership in South Africa is dominated by whites, lilly whites, and is supported by their UK base," said Zikalala.

He mentioned the ANC presidential hopeful's name to take on those who had linked those criticising white monopoly capital to her campaign ahead of the ANC's national elective conference in December.

He said Zambia forced Illovo to list in that country and it was told how it would be regulated.

"That doesn't need Nkosazana to stand," he said.

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