A report in The Sunday Times reveals that President Jacob Zuma’s closest political allies have become irritated by his close ties to the Gupta family.
The Sunday paper said that the relationship has isolated the president ‘and laid bare growing hostility in ANC circles to the family’.
Cosatu and SACP leaders have this week gone public with their frustration at the influence the Guptas are believed to have on some leaders.
SACP deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila opened debate on the matter at the recent ANC’s national executive committee lekgotla.
“We felt we needed to raise it in a meeting because people have been speaking about this thing hush-hush, gossiping about it, and sometimes it has been raised in order to attack the president. And because of that, people who wanted to raise the issue could not raise it because they would be [seen as] attacking the president,” he said.
“We have heard of the role of the Guptas and we wanted to tell [NEC members] that they do not account to the Guptas. They account to the liberation movement, headed by the ANC and its government, and not to individual families,” said Mapaila.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said that a discussion on perceptions that some private business people were controlling certain leaders was held at the lekgotla, but he denied that the Guptas were mentioned specifically.
Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that power utility Eskom cancelled a contract with Exxaro Resources and will now buy coal for one of its power stations from a company soon to be under Gupta control.
According to report, Eskom is buying coal for its Arnot power plant from a mine being bought by a company controlled by the Guptas.
The SACP said it wants to send a clear message to all ministers, MECs, directors-general, mayors and chief executives of parastatals that it will not tolerate corporate capture of the government.
“We have heard [of] the role of the Guptas and we wanted to tell them [NEC members] that they do not account to the Guptas. They account to the liberation movement, headed by the ANC and its government, and not to individual families … so they don’t feel scared that if the Guptas call them they have an obligation to go [to the Guptas’ Saxonwold compound] or they would be removed from government.”
Mapaila said the SACP wanted to defend the country’s sovereignty from the “influence of other countries”.
“When we [don’t defend] our sovereignty and independence we allow a mere family to almost capture our state. Because if you allow that to happen we will definitely lose our independence.”
The full report is in the Sunday Times – 31 January 2016.