The Gupta family has come under close speculation by the media in the last few days; the result of certain individuals in government positions coming forward and claiming that the Guptas offered them their positions. The family has thus been accused of abusing its ties with South African president, Jacob Zuma, in order to shape certain government features to best suit the family.
This has caused the family to retort in somewhat dramatic fashion. The Gupta family dedicated two pages of a newspaper it owns to denying allegations and representing its own position regarding being placed in the centre of the scandal.
The family declared itself a victim of xenophobia as well as hate speech following a statement by Mcebesi Jonas, the nation’s deputy finance minister. Jonas told the public that his position had been offered to him by the Gupta family, and had not come through proper government channels. In addition to placing pressure on the family, Jonas’ allegations have brought Jacob Zuma’s regime under question.
The Gupta Family Defends Itself
The Gupta family denied the allegations in its two page spread, as well as addressed the circumstances that it feels led to these allegations being aired. The family expressed feelings that it has become the ‘scapegoat’ for every hardship brought upon South Africa since the global economic slowdown.
But, despite such statements, there has been a public outcry which has led the opposition to publicly question Zuma’s ties to the Gupta family. The opposition’s spokesperson received an ovation when he fearlessly confronted President Zuma with regards to the accuracy of Mcebesi Jonas’s claims.
Zuma at first replied that such a question should be directed at the Guptas and at Jonas himself, and that he had nothing to do with it. He shortly followed this with an assurance that he remains in charge of the government and had appointed all its current ministers.
In addition to this confrontation, Public Protector – the anti-corruption organisation for the nation – is considering whether to investigate the influence of the Guptas on South Africa’s government. If an investigation is carried out, it will have the potential to severely harm the already shaky trust in Zuma’s administration, which has already been accused by some of corruption and ineptitude.
Aside from the opposition, it would appear that certain members of the ANC are suspicious of the bond between Zuma and the Guptas, stating that, should the family indeed have a hold on South Africa’s government, the country would run a serious risk of becoming a ‘mafia state’.