President Jacob Zuma’s office has now distanced itself from a statement saying that Cabinet recommended he set up a banking inquiry.
The banking inquiry is largely related to the fact that no big bank in South Africa wants anything to do with the controversial Gupta family or their companies. An inter-ministerial committee headed by Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane was investigating the matter, claiming that the issue was about business in general, and not just the Guptas.
On Thursday, Zwane issued a statement saying Cabinet had discussed the Independent Monitoring Commission’s report and would recommend to the president a judicial inquiry be established.
During Friday, however, there was a great deal of confusion around whether it was actually Cabinet as an entity or simply Zwane speaking on behalf of his inter-ministerial committee.
On Friday evening, the presidency decided to say that Zwane’s statement was issued in his personal capacity and “not on behalf of the task team or Cabinet”.
It further clarified that Zwane “does not speak on behalf of Cabinet and the contents of his statement do not reflect the position or views of Cabinet, the presidency or government.”
Zwane’s spokesperson, Martin Madlala, had given a number of interviews on Friday, from TV to radio, in which he struggled to answer the question of whether it was Cabinet or just Zwane who was making the recommendation. He maintained that the line that it was the committee that had presented the resolution to Cabinet, but could not explain that in that case it couldn’t possibly be a recommendation from Cabinet.