'Guptas offered me Finance Minister position' - Mcebisi Jonas

Finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas with President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Elmond Jiyane, GCIS.

Finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas with President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Elmond Jiyane, GCIS.

Deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas has confirmed that members of the Gupta family did offer him the job of finance minister.

In a statement released late on Wednesday afternoon Jonas said:  “Members of the Gupta family offered me the position of Minister of Finance to replace then Minister Nene. I rejected this out of hand. The basis of my rejection of their offer is that it makes a mockery of our hard earned democracy, the trust of our people and no one apart from the President of the Republic appoints ministers.” 

The statement comes after a report in the Sunday Times said Jonas had been offered the job by the Gupta family in November last year.  

Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was axed from the post on the December 9 and replaced by little-known ANC MP Des Van Rooyen. President Jacob Zuma was forced to replace Van Rooyen, by appointing Praving Gordhan, a few days later after the Rand went into free-fall and there was an outcry by business and the wider public.

In the statement Jonas clarified that he had not had discussions with the deputy secretary general of the ANC, Jessie Duarte, about replacing Nene.  “I have hesitated to speak out publicly on this matter until now, but I feel it is no longer possible to remain quiet,” Jonas said  “Of primary concern to me is that this issue has a real danger of diverting attention away from the real and urgent challenges we face as a country.” 

The revelation comes at a time when there is a growing outcry, from within the ANC in particular, over the influence the Gupta family is believed to have over the Zuma administration. 

Former MP Vytjie Mentor added fuel to this fire earlier this week after she made allegations that Gupta representatives had offered her the post of minister of public enterprises after Barbara Hogan was removed from the post. After Jonas’s statement was released Mentor said on her Facebook page “Viva cde. Mcebisi Jonas! The truth shall set us free!”

Read more here: Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas’ statement

Follow @mailandguardian on Twitter for updates.

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