‘Opposition parties have every right to table Gupta debate’

Jackson Mthembu's appointment as the ANC’s 12th Chief Whip was announced this morning.

The ANC's Jackson Mthembu. Picture: Facebook.com

CAPE TOWN - New African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu says opposition parties have every right to call for a debate on state capture and the influence wielded in government by the Gupta family.

Mthembu last week said that the arrogance of the family had to be dealt with once and for all.

He was reacting on Twitter to Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas' statement that he'd been offered the top treasury post by members of the family.

His appointment as the ANC's 12th Chief Whip was announced by party Secretary General Gwede Mantashe this morning.

He replaces Stone Sizani, who was redeployed earlier this month to become South Africa's ambassador to Germany.

Mthembu says he backs the decision by the party's national executive committee at the weekend to investigate allegations, denied by the Guptas, that they were offering cabinet posts.

The newly appointed chief whip says parties are free to table whatever they wish for debate - including allegations about the Guptas influence on matters of State.

"There is no matter under the sun that cannot find concrete debate and expression in Parliament, including this particular matter."

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is ready to take him up on this.

DA chief whip john Steenhuisen says, "We look greatly forward to taking Mr. Mthembu up on his tweet of last week in which he spoke out against the Guptas and their influence, and we hope that he will support the motion that we have brought to the House."

The DA's motion, tabled last week, calls for a multi-party parliamentary inquiry into the Guptas and their alleged influence over Cabinet and executive appointments.

Parliament is currently in recess. Any debate on the Guptas will only be considered once it resumes in April.