African National Congress chief whip Jackson Mthembu has defended former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki against comments on videos of the former presidents praising the controversial Gupta family.
Mbeki was speaking at the world premier of the movie Gandhi My Father, produced by Anil Kapoor and Anil Gupta, and hosted by the Gupta family in South Africa.
In the video taken in 2007, Mbeki says: “Three good things happened to me today, and I think the day will remain the best day for the year 2007 for me. The first thing was that I met the mother of the Gupta sons for the first time, Mrs Gupta. She doesn’t know that I know many things about her because Ajay has told me many things. I learnt some other things today, but I must say, I’m very very honoured to have met and I want to say thank you very much for what you’ve done, which made this film possible.”
In another video, former president Nelson Mandela is seen congratulating the family on the very same film.
He says: “I wish to congratulate the Gupta family and Mr Anil Kapoor for producing this film that shows a new perspective of Mahatma. I wish you all the very best of the success of the film.”
The videos resurfaced on social media following a detailed article by US newspaper The New York Times on the rise and fall of the controversial Gupta family.
The report and the videos have divided South Africans on social media, with some saying perhaps former president Jacob Zuma should not be blamed for everything that went wrong in the ANC, while others still maintained Mandela and Mbeki were not friends of the Guptas.
Others, however, wondered if Mbeki should also go to the Zondo commission and give his side of the story.
But Mthembu has defended them, saying they were never captured by the controversial family. In fact, according to Mthembu, Mandela and Mbeki “never knew” that the brothers would “capture” the state.
“One thing is certain though , Mandela and Mbeki we never captured by the Guptas . They never knew that one day these guys would capture the state,” he said.
However, his comment was criticised, with social media users asking him to speak out on who exactly was apparently captured the Guptas.
One thing is certain though , Mandela and Mbeki we never captured by the Guptas . They never knew that one day these guys would capture the state .
— Jackson Mthembu (@JacksonMthembu_) December 25, 2018