President Zuma: No Gupta-hired Ministers – “I appoint”

By Thulani Gqirana, News24

ANC president Jacob Zuma looks on at the National Assembly in Cape Town, in this September 25, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Nic Bothma
ANC president Jacob Zuma looks on at the National Assembly in Cape Town.

Parliament – The Gupta family has not appointed any minister to the Cabinet, President Jacob Zuma told Parliament on Thursday.

“I appoint ministers here,” a confident Zuma said in the National Assembly, in response to a question from DA leader Mmusi Maimane on who was involved in the decision to remove Nhlanhla Nene from the finance ministry.

Zuma said opposition party leaders should ask the Gupta family, as he had no involvement in them issuing job offers.

The president’s relationship with the Guptas has been in the spotlight over the past week, with various high-profile members saying they had been offered Cabinet jobs by the family.

On Wednesday, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas admitted he had been offered a job by the Guptas and had rejected it.

Zuma said the only job he had ever offered Jonas was the deputy ministry and nothing else.

The president was not required to consult anyone before removing a minister or deputy minister, Zuma said on Thursday. – News24


FACTBOX – South Africa’s Zuma plagued by scandal

JOHANNESBURG, March 17 (Reuters) – South Africa’s government has been rocked by allegations that a wealthy family with close ties to President Jacob Zuma may have been behind his decision to sack respected finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December.

Below are details of scandals that have plagued Zuma’s political career over the years:

* Zuma’s former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was found guilty in 2005 of trying to solicit bribes worth 500,000 rand a year — then worth $63,000 — for Zuma from French arms company Thint. In return, Zuma was supposed to protect it from an investigation into an arms deal arranged by South Africa in the late 1990s.

* President Thabo Mbeki sacked Zuma as his deputy in 2005 after he was implicated in the arms deal. Zuma later ousted Mbeki to win leadership of the ANC.

* In 2005 Zuma was charged with raping the daughter of a friend and colleague within the ANC. She was an AIDS activist and was HIV positive. Zuma said the sex was consensual and he was later cleared in court. During the trial he said he took a shower after sex to reduce the risk of contracting HIV.

* In 2009 prosecutors dropped an investigation into more than 700 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against Zuma relating to the same arms deal, paving the way for him to win a presidential election a month later.

* Zuma, a polygamist who has four wives, in 2009 fathered a child with the daughter of his friend and World Cup official Irvin Khoza. Zuma said in 2010 he “deeply regretted” the pain he had caused from the affair.

* An independent inquiry in 2014 found Zuma had benefited unduly from a state-funded security upgrade to his home that included a cattle enclosure, swimming pool and amphitheatre. Following months of political pressure, he agreed in February to foot part of the bill for the upgrades.

* Zuma was widely criticised in December when he changed finance ministers twice in a week, sending the rand plummeting, alarming investors and triggering financial turmoil.

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