The Deputy Secretary General of African National Congress (ANC) Jessie Duarte is taking refuge under the long arms of the law by seeking legal advice following a rumor that implicated her in an alleged plot with the Guptas to replace axed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene with his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas.
According to Sunday Times report, Duarte and a member of the Gupta family dangled the juicy post to Jonas twice last year on condition that he promote nuclear energy and purge National Treasury of four senior officials. Surprisingly, he rejected it on both occasions.
The report says Mcebisi Jonas first got the offer to occupy the office of the finance minister in November from the Guptas but turned it down then later, Jessie Duarte also made the same offer to him which he also rejected.
Finance Minister Nene was suddenly fired in December shortly after he said no to the request from the South African Airways Chairperson Dudu Myeni and Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir. Nene told the Chairperson not to go ahead with a planned new deal with Airbus because it will not be profitable to the country.
Khusela Sangoni of the ANC says the report according to The Sunday Times article holds no water and is formulated out of thin air from anonymous sources.
“All the individuals who are implicated in the story have denied it. Our view as the ANC is that The Sunday Times is paddling gossip.”
The interpretation of the ANC on the matter is that the newspaper has violated the press code and will now face the thorough investigations by the ombudsman.
The party accuses Sunday Times of setting a very bad example by relaying news to public that are based on mere allegations and rumors as facts which will eventually mislead their innocent audience.
To prove her innocence, Jessie Duarte is ready to provide the Press Ombudsman with her phone records to provide evidence that she never called Jonas to strike a deal. The inclusion of her name in the report was solely to make the gossip appear real.