Zuma responds to Gupta allegations

 ·17 Mar 2016
Jacob Zuma speaking in Germany

President Jacob Zuma has responded to allegations that the Gupta family has been offering ministerial roles to politicians, denying any involvement in the claims, and reiterating that he alone holds the power to appoint Cabinet members.

Deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas rocked South Africa’s political sphere on Wednesday, after confirming publicly that he was offered the role of Finance Minister by the Gupta family ahead of former minister, Nhlanhla Nene, being axed by the president.

Several ANC politicians have since spoken out in support of Jonas, with at least one other MP and a former MP expressing similar events took place.

Speaking in a Q&A session in parliament, the president responded to a question from DA leader Mmusi Maimane, addressing the matter.

“It has become clear that the power of South Africa does not sit at the union buildings – even worse, it does not even sit at Luthuli House – it now sits in Saxonwold (where the Guptas live),” Maimane said.

The DA leader asked the president whether or not the Gupta family had any hand in appointing ministers under Zuma’s leadership, or whether Jonas was lying.

In either case, Maimane asked if Zuma would take responsibility for his government and step down in front of the people of South Africa.

Zuma responded by saying: “Why are you asking me?”

The president said that he appointed Jonas as deputy minister, and that was all he offered him.

“If Jonas says he was offered by the Guptas, I think you would be well-placed to ask the Guptas, or Jonas. Don’t ask me – where do I come in? I had no business with that,” Zuma said.

“I’m in charge of government – I appoint in terms of the constitution. There is no minister who is here, that was ever appointed by the Guptas or by anybody else. Ministers who are here, were appointed by me.”

The Gupta family has consistently denied that any meetings took place, calling the whole situation a political plot against them – while Gupta-run media reported that a political plot to get rid of Zuma and gain control of the country was at play.

More on politics in SA

Another minister comes forward over alleged Gupta meeting

Watch: Gupta media reveals “anti-Zuma plot”

Guptas respond to Jonas ‘state capture’ revelations

“Guptas did offer me the job of Finance Minister”: Jonas

‘I’m not done yet with the Guptas’: whistle-blower

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