ANC on Gupta report: Name-dropping is human nature

"This is what happens in society and any organisation when people want favours. They will name-drop to exaggerate their weight and it happens all the time," Mantashe told journalists in Johannesburg following the ANC's latest national executive committee meeting. 

In the findings of a ministerial report, name-dropping was identified as the main cause behind the landing of an aeroplane carrying guests destined for the Gupta family wedding at the Waterkloof Air Force Base in April.

The investigation revealed that an initial attempt by the Gupta family to organise a special landing at OR Tambo International Airport was turned down. The Guptas then approached the Indian high commission, who re-designated the wedding entourage as an official delegation to secure a landing at the air force base.

This was not cleared by the international relations department and the commission dealt directly with the air force command post to obtain flight clearance.

The landing has sparked widespread criticism and brought into sharp focus the nature of the relationship between President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family.

"Dealing with powerful individuals in business is a major issue, not only for the ANC but in society," Mantashe added.

"Money can buy anything and it's a challenge we must deal with in society. It's a terrible threat that people with money can buy anything and can buy anybody."

Simple assumptions
Mantashe also dismissed Zuma's relationship with the Gupta family as a possible reason for the landing taking place, adding that people should not make simple assumptions.

"I'm not sure that is necessary. I have relationships with other families and it is not the business of the ANC who I relate to in my personal capacity. The issue is whether that relationship will impact on behaviour," Mantashe added. 

Mantashe said the ANC will be taking measures to deal with name-dropping as "part of human nature making people do certain things" along with the other societal problems in the country. 

He said the Gupta landing was blown out of proportion by opposition parties.

"When you go to the elections, this thing is going to happen all the time because people see everything and want to make it an entry point into the elections," he added. 

"Between now and the elections, more and more dirt is going to be dug on everyone in the ANC as part of a campaign – it happens all the time."

The Gupta landing is set to be discussed in Parliament on Wednesday during a special sitting, where MPs will debate how this debacle unfolded.

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