Following Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s admission that he had met with the controversial Gupta family, politicians, along with the South African public, have had their say in the matter.
Gordhan detailed an official meeting with the Guptas in a sworn affidavit, ahead of his testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture, saying he met the Guptas at the request of then president Jacob Zuma.
In a statement, the EFF accused the former minister of being an accomplice to the Gupta activities as they gained traction during his tenure.
“It [is] becoming evident that virtually everyone who served in strategic positions in Zuma’s Cabinet since 2009 was in the pockets and under the micromanagement of the Guptas and this includes Pravin Gordhan.”
Gordhan, however, said in his statement that he refused to meet them after that and only saw them in business meetings.
The party concluded: “When he appears before the commission on state capture, Pravin Gordhan must tell the truth and nothing but the truth. He must explain how Ivan Pillay, his friend, without any qualifications, became Sars Commissioner. He must explain how he established parallel intelligence. He must explain how he dealt with huge procurement in Sars and how he settled some of the huge tax evasion cases. We expect the truth and nothing but the truth. He must explain his relationship with the Guptas in detail.”
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu also shared an opinion of his own, saying that although the minister had previously claimed he forgot whether Ajay Gupta was in a meeting he held in 2010 with an Indian businessman, the “fact” is that his statement was false.
“He previously denied having met the Guptas. Fact is that he lied to parliament,” he said.
Cope, however, released a statement criticising the EFF for “attacking” Gordhan when all he tried to do was “clean” state-owned enterprises.
Former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa said Gordhan’s submission to the Zondo Commission indicated that President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC must also appear to clear the confusion on what they knew, what they did, and the reasons for their actions.
Shilowa said: “Beyond him being in the Zuma Cabinet and is like everyone tainted, what else is there in relation to collaboration with the Guptas and possible looting? If the attack is on having shared bread (being in Cabinet), shouldn’t [the] same apply to those who sat with him in the NEC? Wonder what the SACP submission would look like as it appears Gordhan is implicating another member of the PB.”
BLF leader Andile Mngxitama, who has never been a fan of Gordhan, said the minister must “voetsek”. He said when white monopoly capital “demonised” the Gupta family, they didn’t know it would come back to haunt them.
“WMC and its agents succeeded to demonise the Guptas to a point were mentioning their name induced a mental block. Guptas meant corrupt. Now the trap set for RET [Radical Economic Transformation] people is catching its authors. Let’s see who among them have not met the Guptas. Remember even hallo is a crime.
“I remember one of the Mazzoti boys coming back from meeting Robin Renwick in London writing that the Guptas are colonialists. This man with a Postgrad degree from Wits. It was part of defending WMC through demonising the Guptas. Now it turns [out] they all had met the family.
“Pravin had masala tea with Atul. He must go. We gotta be consistent! No thinking, no argument, no evidence. He met the Guptas, therefore, he must follow [Nhlanhla] Nene and Zuma. We are tired of these Gupta stooges. He must voetsek!”