Former President Thabo Mbeki has debunked claims that he introduced the Guptas to President Zuma, stating that even if he did, he can’t be responsible for whatever that happened between Zuma and the Gupta family.
This follows the allegation EPPA’s (Ex-Political Prisoners Association) Mpho Masemola tabled yesterday when he told ENCA that “the Gupta family was introduced to Jacob Zuma by Thabo Mbeki and Essop Pahad.”
Responding, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation released a statement today where it acknowledged the various claims linking the former President and the Guptas.
The Foundation said it avoided to respond on the matter in order not to “descend to the lower depths to which the allegation desperately attaches.” But that the “honest and sustained attempt to avoid the gutter were nonetheless severely tested and strained by an ENCA news report which featured one Mr. Mpho Masemola…”
The statement specified that “Thabo Mbeki did not at any point introduce the Gupta family to President Zuma.” But however, argued that “even if it were true that Mbeki had introduced the Gupta family to President Zuma, unless it is alleged and proven that he did so with an improper motive, he would not be held responsible for whatever may or may not have transpired thereafter between President Zuma and the Gupta family.
For Mr. Masemola to suggest otherwise is in fact to accuse President Zuma of lacking the capacity to make his own ethical judgement.”
Thabo Mbeki Foundation further dismissed claims that a member of the Gupta family served as an economic advisor to President Mbeki as false.
“No member of the Gupta family ever served in any economic advisory body during the time when President Mbeki served as Head of State. It is nevertheless true that Ajay Gupta‚ served on the International Marketing Council board (now Brand SA).”
As related, “Mr. Ajay Gupta joined the board of the then IMC by agreement of the board on the recommendation of then Minister in The Presidency, Essop Pahad, who rightly or wrongly thought that he had the skills, knowledge and capacity to facilitate the work of the Council – not because of his alleged proximity to the President. The IMC board reported to the Minister in The Presidency. Former Minister Pahad can further elaborate on the matter.”