South Africa's Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas claims he was approached by the Guptas and offered the Finance Minister's job. In a statement to media he 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. Let me also place it on record that there was no discussion between the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC Ms Jessie Duarte and myself on this matter.”
[READ: S.A president explains why he sacked Nene, rand, bank shares plummet]
Jonas is the second member of the ruling party this week to allege that he was offered a ministerial position by the controversial Gupta family, which is closely linked to President Jacob Zuma.
The first was former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, who claims she was offered a Cabinet position by the Gupta family while president Zuma was allegedly in another room.
The Presidency released a statement saying the president has no recollection of Mentor, nor the mentioned incident, of which Mentor replied by naming numerous occasions where she interacted with the president, citing Former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe as references.
The Gupta family responded to Jonas's statement as follows:
“These latest allegations are just more political point scoring between rival factions within the ANC. To be clear: any suggestion that the Gupta family or any of our representatives or associates have offered anyone a job in government is totally false.
“We challenge Minister Jonas to provide a full account of the supposed meeting that took place, under oath, in a court of law. Minister Jonas is attempting to cover up and divert attention away from his own relationships and practices. We are confident questions about his own ethical standards will be exposed.
“We will not provide any further running commentary on what is now just a politically-motivated campaign against us.
See Jonas's full statement below:
STATEMENT BY DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE MR. MCEBISI JONAS (MP)
1. I have decided to respond to and clarify certain questions that have been in the
public domain recently. I do so in accordance with my conscience, my political values
and the best traditions of my organisation, the ANC, of which I have been a member
since my early teens.
2. I regard our Constitution as being sacrosanct and it embraces the values that South
Africans struggled for, and what we live by. I was appointed Deputy Minister in terms
of the Constitution by the President of the Republic. Any practice that conflicts with
the prescripts of the constitution must be challenged in the interest of our democracy
and the accountability we have to our people. The ANC that we have been and
continue to be proud members of, has offered us the opportunity to serve our
country, an honour that I do not take for granted. My historical commitment to the
liberation of our people has not waned.
3. My daily decisions and actions are informed by the understanding that true political
freedom will be achieved through deliberate and active management of a
transformed yet inclusive growing economy. The current economic climate presents
many risks for our country, which requires responsible leadership to avoid a fullblown
crisis. We have to unite on the key issues relating to managing the macroeconomic
risks, while urgently unlocking new sources of growth and job creation.
South Africa requires “all hands on deck”.
4. The extent to which we are able to navigate the current macro-economic challenges,
restore investor confidence and rapidly stimulate growth, will depend on heightened
levels of political leadership.
5. The narrative that has grown around the issue of “state capture” should be of
concern to all responsible and caring South Africans, particularly those of us who
have accepted the task to lead our people. We cannot afford to ignore the obvious
impact these sentiments may have on our country and the resultant potential of
undermining our moral authority. Neither can we afford to allow the attempts to
capture the state to divert us from dealing with the challenges that our country faces.
History will judge us on the extent to which we have stayed true to the commitments
we have made to our people through our public pronouncements and private
6. Therefore let me state the facts on the matter of whether I was approached by nongovernmental
individuals in respect of the position of Minister of Finance. 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. Let me also place
it on record that there was no discussion between the Deputy Secretary General of
the ANC Ms Jessie Duarte and myself on this matter.
7. I have hesitated to speak out publicly on this matter until now, but I feel it is no longer
possible to remain quiet. 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
8. I am committed to good governance, abiding by the constitution of our country and
being accountable to our people who repeatedly express their confidence and trust in
us, election after election. It is this constant state of awareness and consciousness
drummed into most of us throughout our service in the national democratic revolution
led by the ANC, that has provided us with the moral capital and tools to apply sound
judgement to navigate challenges that emerge in the natural course of societal
leadership. It is only through these values and moral covenants that I serve my
organisation, my fellow country men and women, my beloved South Africa.
9. Finally, I remain confident that the challenges that we face as a nation will be
overcome if we collectively use our efforts for the benefit of all. I am resolute in
playing my part in preserving the integrity of National Treasury as an institution in my
capacity as Deputy Minister. I’m also committed to in making my contribution towards
building a prosperous South Africa led by the glorious movement of our people, the
African National Congress.
Issued on behalf of the Ministry of Finance
Date: 16 March 2016