ANC lekgotla takes aim at leaders 'captured' by the Guptas

President Jacob Zuma has previously been accused by some in the alliance of allowing the Guptas to influence him on key decisions, including the appointment of Cabinet ministers. (Madelene Cronje)

President Jacob Zuma has previously been accused by some in the alliance of allowing the Guptas to influence him on key decisions, including the appointment of Cabinet ministers. (Madelene Cronje)

The politically connected Gupta family became the elephant in the room during debates at the ANC’s lekgotla, held at the St George Hotel in Pretoria last week.

Delegates took aim at ANC leaders who allowed themselves to be “captured” by the influential family, sources said last week.

South African Communist Party second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila raised concerns about the influence of the Gupta family on ANC leaders in government.

President Jacob Zuma has previously been accused by some in the alliance of allowing the Guptas to influence him on key decisions, including the appointment of Cabinet ministers.

The Gupta family business, with Zuma’s son Duduzane as one its directors, has benefited handsomely from multimillion-rand government contracts.

Mapaila told lekgotla delegates that it was wrong that, whenever people raised concerns about the Guptas, some ANC leaders reduced that to an attack on Zuma.

He said more ANC leaders had been “captured” by the Guptas and that needed to stop.

Mapaila’s call to deal with the manipulation of ANC leaders by businesses like those owned by the Guptas, was supported by ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Alliance leaders said Gordhan suggested at the meeting that ANC leaders who allowed themselves to be “captured” by business should be hauled before the party’s integrity committee.

In a recent interview with the Sowetan, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe insisted the Guptas had not taken control of the ANC, but had captured individuals.

“They would not have any influence on the ANC. They would have relations with individuals ... That does not give them influence over the ANC,” Mantashe insisted.

 
Matuma Letsoalo

Matuma Letsoalo

Matuma Letsoalo is the Political Editor of the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003, focusing on politics and labour, and collaborated with the M&G's centre for investigations, amaBhungane, from time to time.In 2011, Matuma won the South African Journalist of the Year Award and was also the winner in the investigative journalism category in the same year.In 2004, he won the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize – the MKO Abiola Print Journalism Award. Matuma was also a joint category winner of the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the year Award in 2008. In 2013, he was a finalist for Wits University's Taco Kuiper Award.In 2015, Matuma also won the Vodacom Journalist of the year in the regional awards for the Economics and Finance category. Read more from Matuma Letsoalo

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