ANC pressured to explain another alleged Gupta-linked ministerial job offer

Analysts say the party's been placed in an awkward position over alleged ministerial job offers by the Guptas.

The ANC's headquarters, Luthuli House, in central Johannesburg. Picture: WikiCommons.

JOHANNESBURG - While the African National Congress (ANC) says it plans to discuss the influence of the Gupta family at its upcoming National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, political analysts say the party has been placed in an 'awkward' position where it has to carefully craft a response to allegations that its former Member of Parliament (MP) Vytjie Mentor was offered a job by the controversial family.

Mentor took to Facebook this week, claiming she was offered the job of public enterprises minister after Barbara Hogan was redeployed in 2010.

Mentor also claims the offer came with certain conditions and was made at the Gupta's Johannesburg home while President Jacob Zuma was in a room next door.

In three statements yesterday, Zuma said he had no recollection of Mentor as an MP and is therefore in no position to comment.

Political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana says the latest allegations provide further evidence of the Gupta family's influence and again plunges the ANC into another dilemma to manage public perceptions.

"If they were to admit that they know her, even if they state that they believe what she's said, it imposes an obligation on the party to react somehow."

Ndletyana says it will be very difficult to reverse the existing public perception about the president's relationship with the Gupta family.

"It's quite likely that he would have either revelations of that nature, because in this case it looks like that Miss Mentor has been emboldened by the Mcebisi Jonas incident."

At the same time political analyst Ralph Mathekga, says the ANC will now have to come out and set the record straight.

"This issue might also mirror the factions that exist within the ruling party."

Mathekga says the Guptas must approach the courts if they believe they are being defamed or malicious rumours are being spread about them.

"If the family believes they are being aggrieved, if they believe that this is unfair to them, I think the Guptas should approach the court."

Both analysts say the president's decision to deny knowing who Mentor is reflects his desperation to distance himself from public discourse around the Gupta family.

Meanwhile, the Guptas have categorically denied meeting Mentor or ever offering her a job, saying she is trying to boost her political profile.

There are also fresh calls for the family to be summoned to Parliament.