Former govt official implicates Zuma in another Gupta family scandal
Themba Maseko said he received a call from President Jacob Zuma to direct business to the Gupta family.
JOHANNESBURG - A former government spokesperson has directly implicated President Jacob Zuma in a push to drive state business to the Gupta family.
The Sunday Times is quoting Themba Maseko as saying president Zuma personally called him, asking that he direct business towards the Gupta family.
This latest claim appears to contradict Zuma's assertion in parliament earlier this week that if the controversial family solicited government favours, it was without his knowledge.
The paper quoted Maseko saying he was driving to a meeting with the Gupta family when Zuma phoned him and asked him to help the Guptas.
Maseko said when he met with them they asked his department to spend government money on advertising in the New Age newspaper.
The family then said they could direct other departments to place ads in their paper.
At one point in another conversation Ajay Gupta demanded that Maseko meet with one of the newspaper's top officials, and they he said "I'm not asking you, I'm telling you".
Maseko left his position a year later.
'ZUMA WILL SURVIVE THIS WEEKEND'S NEC MEETING'
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said he believes the president will survive this weekend's African National Congress (ANC) NEC meeting because he still has a lot of support within the ANC ranks.
But if an investigation into the Gupta family saga is launched, he might not be as lucky in the near future.
Fikeni said Zuma already faces a lot of litigation.
"It depends on what the party decides to do about the Guptas. If you have this one, it might prove to be the most embarrassing one, if the full extent of the relationship is revealed."
While Zuma still appears to have the upper hand in the ANC's NEC, there will be some members who feel the party has to be seen to act against the Guptas and the entire phenomenon of corporate capture, if it's to legitimacy among voters.
Local government elections are just around the corner and if the party is seen to go soft on Zuma and the Guptas and thus claims of corruption in general, it could find several large metros are in danger.
But the real political test could be one of bravery, who is going to go up against the person who has dominated our politics for the last decade, putting their own political career at risk.