Pretoria – The Gupta scandal which has rocked the African National Congress and the South African government is not officially on the agenda of the high-level National Executive Committee meeting which started in Pretoria on Friday.
“We are getting into the discussion now. There is no item on that matter, that is a standalone item in the NEC of the ANC. If it comes, it will be during the course of discussions,” Mantashe told reporters.
“I’m saying, that issue will come, if it comes in the debate. In the discussion of the NEC there is no standalone item in the agenda about all those issues.”
Mantashe said his feelings and views on the matter did not matter at this stage.
“I’m the secretary-general of the ANC. My personal views and feelings count for nought. It is the structure that is sitting now that will make pronouncements on issues. What comes out of the structural meeting is what is going to prevail,” he said.
As the summit took off, Mantashe told journalists that the revelations and calls from senior politicians to act on the alleged interference of the influential Gupta family in decisions taken by President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet ministers had not put the NEC delegates under any pressure.
“The NEC doesn’t work that way. The ANC is having a very important document called the Constitution. It is not about the NEC working because who is the loudest (and) when. It doesn’t work that way,” Mantashe said.
“The NEC works in terms of the Constitution and it executes its work in terms of what is expected of it, in terms of the Constitution of the ANC. So there is no pressure.”
The NEC meeting got underway on Friday following a turbulent week for the ruling party.
Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas dropped a bombshell on Wednesday by confirming reports that the Gupta family had approached him to take over as finance minister, a few days before Zuma fired Nhlanhla Nene from the post.
On Thursday, Zuma told Parliament that the Gupta family had never appointed any Cabinet minister.
“There is no minister who is here who was ever appointed by the Guptas or by anybody else,” he told the National Assembly.
Earlier in the week former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor said Zuma was present several years ago when the Guptas offered her the post of public enterprises minister, held at the time by Barbara Hogan.
Mantashe said the three-day conference is focusing on the ailing South African economy and the upcoming local government elections.
“The NEC started off very well. The political overview and the NWC (national working committee) report have been tabled. We will focus on two major areas in this NEC – The economy, growth thereof in particular and the local government elections,” said Mantashe.
African News Agency
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