Gwede Mantashe: He's not untouchable

Mantashe's responded to questions over allegations of interference in politics by Zuma's business friends.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - No one in South Africa's ruling party is untouchable, including President Jacob Zuma, the African National Congress' Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday in response to questions about allegations of interference in politics by Zuma's business friends.

The government was rocked on Wednesday by suggestions that the Gupta family, with close ties to Zuma, may have been behind his decision to sack the country's respected finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December.

"He's not untouchable, he's the president," Mantashe told Reuters.

"Why should we see this as a crisis instead of a positive? It will embolden people to come to the fore ... so we can find the business people who are tampering within the ANC."


Meanwhile, the South African Communist Party (SACP) has called for a judicial inquiry into the relationship between the Gupta family and government, saying the Tripartite Alliance should severe ties with the family if it's found that they did influence ministerial appointments and government business deals.

The party has congratulated Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas for publicly speaking out about a meeting he claims to have had with the Guptas.

Yesterday, Jonas revealed that a representative of the Gupta family offered him the finance minister position before Nhlanhla Nene was fired.

SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo says, "All those relationships must be terminated and for that to happen, thorough investigations must be conducted - both within our movement and the State and wherever these relationships are found. Defensive action must be taken."

To read the deputy minister's full statement, _ click here_.

WATCH: Mcebisi Jonas on being offered a job by the Guptas


Yesterday, Parliament was asked to investigate the Gupta family's alleged influence over government.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the National Assembly called for a multi-party parliamentary committee to probe a raft of allegations about the family's undue influence over President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the parliamentary probe should examine the Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration's purchase of a coal mine and its contract with Eskom.

He said it must also consider allegations that the Guptas offered former African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) Vytjie Mentor a ministerial post six years ago, told Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula of his ministerial promotion and were involved in the reshuffle of finance ministers in December.

Maimane said the committee should report back to the house in May.

To view today's EWN cartoon on this contentious saga, _ click here_.

Additional reporting from Reuters.