Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma was allegedly given a dressing down over his links to the controversial Gupta family by delegates who attended the provincial alliance summit in East London at the weekend.
The Star has reliably learnt that Eastern Cape ANC provincial executive committee member Pumelele Ndamase led the charge in criticising Zuma for his links to the Guptas, saying his relationship to the Indian business family had tarnished the party's image.
On Sunday, Zuma, who was accompanied by ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, opened the summit at the Osner Hotel.
However, by Monday night, the alliance leaders closed ranks, and dismissed as nonsense claims that Zuma was heavily criticised over his relationship with the Guptas.
“Pumelele (Ndamase) spoke about alliance matters, finish and klaar,” said SA National Civic Organisation provincial secretary Tony Dubazana.
ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane admitted the issue of the Guptas was robustly discussed at the summit.
“There was no dressing down of Zuma. We had a good internal discussion about issues affecting the alliance and the country. Issues of clarity were asked about the Guptas. The discussion was led by Zuma and it was enriching. Delegates were free to engage and ask any questions on any matters,” said Mabuyane.
Without naming Ndamase, Mabuyane said the Gupta issue was aired by comrades wanting clarity on it. “Let’s not create enemies where there are none. It’s a figment of somebody’s imagination that the president was criticised. It’s absolute nonsense and rubbish,” he added.
The summit declared that it would “spare no effort in fighting business interest capture of our structure”, and fighting factionalism.
The SACP has been vocal in its stance against the Guptas, who have been accused of using their close proximity to Zuma to get business from the government.