JOHANNESBURG. – The ruling African National Congress (ANC) said on Wednesday that it views the allegations over appointments of cabinet ministers by the Indian Gupta family “in an extremely serious light”.
These allegations “have the potential to erode and undermine the authority of the ANC, as the governing party and the President over the State,” the party said.
Section 91 of the SA Constitution bestows upon the president the authority to appoint ministers, to assign them responsibilities and to dismiss them, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said. This came after South African Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas confirmed on Wednesday that the wealthy Indian Gupta family had offered him the finance minister’s job.
“Members of the Gupta family offered me the position of Minister of Finance to replace then-Minister (Nhlanhla) Nene,” Jonas said.
Jonas said he had rejected the offer out of hand becasue he believed that the offer “makes a mockery of our democracy”.
“The basis of my rejection of their offer is that it makes a mockery of our hard-earned democracy, the trust of our people and no one apart from the president of the Republic appoints ministers,” said Jonas.
This is not the first time the Guptas, who have close ties with President Jacob Zuma, his family and other ANC leaders, have allegedly tried to influence Cabinet appointments. Over the last couple of days, a number of reports have surfaced in the media alleging inappropriate and undue influence by the Gupta family over the appointment of members of the Cabinet.
In a post on Facebook on Monday, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor claimed that the Guptas had previously offered her the position of Minister of Public Enterprises. Mentor stated that the Guptas “previously asked me to become Minister of Public Enterprises when Barbara Hogan got the chop, provided that I would drop the SAA (South African Airways) flight-route to India and give (it) to them”.
Mentor said she refused and so she was never made a minister. She claimed that Zuma was in another room when the Gupta family offered her the position.The presidency on Tuesday refuted the allegations, saying Zuma has no recollection of Mentor. – Xinhua/News24.