The Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan has refused to further comment on allegations that the Gupta family had attempted to have his deputy Mcebisi Jonas appointed as minister.
The minister who was speaking with groups of journalists in Johannesburg, announced that he has no personal knowledge about the alleged meeting held between his deputy and the Gupta family alongside the deputy secretary-general of the African National Congress Jesse Duarte who offered Jonas the top job ahead of 9/12.
“There is nothing I can tell you…You have addressed the question, while I was away, with Treasury, and you have a response on the record. If there is anything further to add, we will let you know,” he said to reporters. Jonas was not present at the briefing.
The Gupta family was reported to have offered Jonas the ministry’s top job before Nhlanhla Nene was removed but that Jonas turned down the offer. The Sunday Times also reported that the president’s son Duduzane was present at a meeting at a Sandton hotel in November.
The newspaper further alleged that Jonas was again offered this position a few days later by Duarte. But Treasury vehemently denied that any of its senior officials could have been the source of a report in the newspaper.
“We know nothing about that and in any event, so-called senior officials are not required to enter into the political terrain on these sorts of matters and if we do find out that somebody crossed the line, we will deal with that.” they said.
Meanwhile, the minister, who is more concerned on how to revive the country’s economy had engaged in series of journey meeting with foreign investors and speaking to them about how they can invest in the country.
Speaking in a media briefing, Gordhan warned South Africans to be careful not to be carried away with the political tuzzles in the country. He added that the world was watching South Africa very carefully especially those who have invested in South Africa for a very long time in both bonds and equities.
“We need to be aware as South Africans that we need to provide very concrete evidence that we are not just talking. It’s time for concrete action, demonstrable action”
The minister said that the Moody’s ratings agency, which was visiting South Africa to reassess its credit rating was asking some tough questions about where the country was heading to in terms of its economy.
Gordhan however said that his interaction with ratings agencies had been very positive and that one ratings agency: “As soon as they saw the budget, they cancelled that meeting and will now wait until June.”
“I hope we will be given some breathing space,” he said.