Will the ANC discipline the Guptas?
Genevieve Quintal, News24
Johannesburg - If members of the Gupta family who offered Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas the job of minister, are found to be ANC members it will be up to the party's national executive committee (NEC) to decide if they should be disciplined for bringing the party into disrepute.
ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said on Wednesday, following Jonas's confirmation that the politically connected family had approached him, that he was sure whether the Guptas were party members.
He said the NEC would have to investigate.
"I think the national executive committee is the body, among others... to reflect on the question you are asking," Kodwa told News24.
A highly placed source in the ANC's Saxonwold branch confirmed to News24 on Wednesday that Atul Gupta, his wife and Rajesh Gupta, also known as Tony, were ANC members. The family lives in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
In 2013, Business Day reported that the branch intended instituting disciplinary proceedings against Atul Gupta for allegedly bringing the ruling party into disrepute.
Kodwa, however, said the Guptas' ANC membership was immaterial, and that this and their "balance sheet" did not give them the right to offer or promise Cabinet jobs to anyone.
"Even if they are ANC members, it does not allow them to do what has been alleged that they are doing."
In a statement on Wednesday, Jonas confirmed that the Guptas - who are said to have strong ties to President Jacob Zuma, his family and other ANC leaders - had offered him the job of finance minister before Nhlanhla Nene was removed.
However, Jonas said he had "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," he said.
Kodwa said, in light of Jonas's confirmation, the ANC wanted to reiterate that the appointment of ministers was the president's prerogative.
"The confirmation that the Gupta family... unelected as they are, they offer people ministerial positions including replacements... is an issue of serious concern because it erodes the authority and credibility of the authority of the president, that of government and the leadership of the African National Congress.
"The ANC must act decisively to send a very unambiguous and clear message that it won't allow its government including leadership of the ANC to be influenced by any individual regardless of their balance sheet."
Earlier, in a statement, Kodwa said the ANC would discuss the issue of the Guptas and allegations that they were offering Cabinet jobs, at its upcoming NEC meeting to take place this weekend.