The battle lines have been drawn between the Guptas and the African National Congress which has highlighted that outsiders have not and will not have any influence over the party and its running of the state.
The ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) held its three day annual meeting in Pretoria this past weekend. The near dismal state of the economy, local government elections as well as the alleged business influence of the state formed large parts of the agenda.
In a media briefing following the meeting, General Secretary Gwede Mantashe rubbished any association with affluent Gupta family. The family has come under fire in past weeks for allegedly offering ministerial posts to members of the ANC.
“The ANC NEC had frank and robust discussions on the serious allegations … [and] mandated the officials of the National Working Committee to gather all pertinent information … to enable the ANC to take appropriate action on this matter,” according to the NEC’s statement.
The rand and investor sentiment have remained volatile following the sudden sacking of former Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene, which media reports have alleged was due to him going against the interests of the Guptas - especially his opposition of the nuclear deal and the appointment of the relatively unknown Des van Rooyen by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma. Van Rooyen lost his job just four days later to the current Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan.
However Zuma has managed to cement support in his position as leader of the ANC by party executives who expressed “full confidence in the president” amidst the on-going reports about his close ties with the controversial Gupta family. The ANC NEC emphasised that the “appointment of ministers and deputy ministers is the sole prerogative of the President of the Republic”.
But questions remain on whether the executive committee missed an opportunity to initiate recourse based on the alleged dealings which apparently led to the questionable appointment of some state officials.
“The ANC doesn’t react to media hype as the organisation would fall apart,” Mantashe told the media briefing. The Secretary General also highlighted that the relationship between the President’s son Duduzane and the Guptas is not an issue to the ANC until such time it impacts on the dealings of the party.
Other matters that the NEC is said to have discussed in-depth is the public spat between South African Revenue Service boss, Tom Moyane and Gordhan. Mantashe said: “There has been a call for all parties involved to come together and resolve these issues.”
The sinking state owned South African Airways was also discussed at the meeting. “The ANC expects all state-owned entities to perform optimally.” The party expressed concern in financial viability of South African Airways and called for government to resolve the various challenges.