Tshwane - African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Thursday said it was up to law enforcement agencies to act against the Gupta family in the wake of extensive allegations of looting state resources through improper dealings with parastatals and senior politicians.
"Sometimes when you exaggerate the status of a family, and you make life be about the Guptas and everything else about the Guptas, you make actually make them assume unearned importance. We are dealing with State capture, we are dealing with the role of the family in that State capture, [but] it's not a subject matter for every NEC (national executive committee)," Mantashe spoke to journalists at a meeting of the party's top structure in Pretoria.
"Processes are underway. We have taken a resolution in that issue. We are not going to come here everyday and say we reaffirm our view on the Guptas. The fact that provinces are beginning to talk about it means that the ANC body is now alive to the problem and they are talking about it. Therefore the body of the ANC will improve its immunity, to be infected by the Guptas."
However, Mantashe said, enforcing the law was the responsibility of police. He rebuffed questions on the perceived lack of drive to probe and prosecute members of the Gupta family.
"So your suggestion is that the ANC must set up its police unit and arrest the Guptas? To round them up and arrest them - is that your suggestion? I don't know if you want the ANC to have a police unit, and a private army, that surrounds the Guptas and locks them up in a private prison. I think that will be absurd."
Mantashe said it was grossly unfair for South African media to portray the ANC as a governing party that turns a blind eye on corruption.
"When you have two mayors of Buffalo City having been removed from their positions, and when you have three secretaries of regions of the ANC who have removed from their positions and I can give you the list ... to create a picture that nothing is happening, until now we have [just] been talking, is misleading to society. There are quite a number of things that have happened. When an MEC in a province gets arrested, prosecuted and convicted and we forget that as we go, because we are looking for something that we are interested in now, is a wrong approach to educating society," said Mantashe.
"I don't want us to be casual in dealing with the issue of the emails of the Guptas, that when there is one thing exciting today, sirens must run to that point. We must deal with that issue holistically, it's quite complex. It's actually denting the ANC despite the fact that as an organization we are not at the heart of it. It's individual members that are accused but it dents the ANC."
Mantashe stressed that where there was criminal activity, "State institutions must kick in and do their work".
Senior ANC leaders including President Jacob Zuma, chairperson Baleka Mbete and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize were in attendance at the party's one day meeting.