Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Mmusi Maimane has accused President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet of “working tirelessly” to enrich a connected few, particularly the controversial Gupta family at the centre of “state capture” allegations.
In a statement released on Monday, Maimane said answers to a series of written parliamentary questions he had submitted to all 35 ministers in Cabinet revealed that a majority of members within the ANC “serve the Gupta project of State Capture” at the expense of more than 9 million South Africans without jobs.
“I submitted parliamentary questions to each minister asking whether he/she had met with any member, employee and/or close associate of the Gupta family and/or attended any meeting with these persons at the Gupta’s Saxonwold Estate in Johannesburg or anywhere else since taking office,” he said.
The written responses revealed the following:
- The Ministers of finance, defence, economic development, energy, home affairs and trade and industry all admitted to having “attended social events where members of the Gupta family were present”;
- Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies stated that he had indeed met with the Gupta family on several occasions;
- Well-known Gupta affiliates – Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen and Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane – both denied having met with members of the Gupta family despite the public protector’s State of Capture report providing concrete evidence to the contrary by using phone records and flight details;
- The ministers of environmental affairs, public enterprises, sport and recreation, state security and women in the presidency all flatly refused to give an answer to the question; and
- The minister of energy admitted to meeting with Gupta employees Mr Nazeem Howa [former CEO of Oakbay Investments] and Mr Moegsin Williams at various New Age breakfasts.
Maimane said Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu had refused to even reply to his question, which he says was put to her in April last year.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan admitted to having met a Gupta at Zuma’s official residence.
“What has become quite clear from the answers provided is that the Gupta project of State Capture is an ANC project – fully endorsed and supported by the majority in the ANC. This is why ministers are forced to dodge questions, or provide flimsy and equivocal answers to direct questions,” Maimane said.
He also said if it’s found that any member of Cabinet misled parliament over the responses, the DA would take whatever action necessary.
“I have also today [Monday] written to the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly, Cyril Ramaphosa, requesting that he ensures that the Ministers who have yet to answer, failed to answer, or answered vaguely, are made to provide sufficient answers to the question within the next 14 days.”
The official opposition has already laid criminal charges in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act against members of the Gupta family with the Hawks.
The party says it eagerly anticipates the outcome of the investigation, which has been confirmed by the priority crime unit.