The controversial Gupta family has again denied any wrongdoing in the wake of explosive revelations in e-mail correspondence documenting the extent of the influence the family has on state affairs through its links to President Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane.
According to Sunday newspapers‚ the e-mails show wide-ranging Gupta family control over cabinet ministers and the CEOs and board members of parastatals.
The correspondence also gives insight into the role of Duduzane Zuma in presidential matters. Duduzane is a close Gupta associate and is believed to have made billions through this partnership.
Another series of e-mails show that the Guptas were central to a scheme for President Zuma and his family to acquire residency in Dubai‚ in the United Arab Emirates.
But Gupta family lawyer Gert van der Merwe said the reports relied on undisclosed documents and assumptions of impropriety resulting in a clear intention to influence political perception. This was another example of fake news‚ he said.
He invited newsrooms relying on the documents to disclose to his client‚ for consideration and comment‚ both the documents and the sources from which they were obtained.
“Once the documents are studied and verified my client will be in a position to comment‚ if justified. The family denies any wrongdoing or paying any amounts to ministers or the president and reserves its rights‚” Van der Merwe said in statement.
President Zuma has denied he was planning to move to the UAE but failed to respond to questions about his cabinet ministers’ communications with the Guptas.
Meanwhile, some opposition parties have voiced their opinions.
The DA has consulted its lawyers with the aim of taking legal action against Jacob Zuma‚ the Gupta family‚ implicated cabinet ministers‚ public officials‚ state owned enterprises executives and board members‚ as well as any others who have sought to undermine the state.
“We believe there is a host of charges of the most serious order including grand corruption‚ undermining of state sovereignty‚ and various statutory offences including the leaking of classified information and undue influence in the awarding of government contracts‚” party leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday.
Maimane said it was clear that as the Gupta capture scandals continued to grow‚ a judicial commission of inquiry recommended by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had to be established to swiftly investigate and ensure the unprecedented scale of corruption was stopped once and for all.
“Today’s revelations make it clear as to why Jacob Zuma is opposing the Public Protector’s recommendations in court‚” he said.
United Democratic Movement leader General Bantu Holomisa said his party felt paralysed by the latest revelations and had lost the vocabulary to react.
He said the devastating element of the revelations was that there was nothing authorities could do as the whole system was contaminated.
“Corruption is eating on the body politic of the ANC like a cancerous tumour; that is why they lack decisiveness in taking action against one of theirs. It is high time that voters prepare themselves for 2019 to choose whether they want to remain under these predators and hyenas‚” Holomisa said.
Holomisa said many cases had been brought against Zuma but nothing had happened.
“That machinery‚ whichever corner you go to‚ is not going to work. The only institution that still has integrity is the judiciary but one cannot jump to the judiciary. You need to start with the police‚ who would then put together a docket for the NPA‚ (but) the NPA will be the one defending the suspects. When you open a case against Zuma‚ the police say ‘thank you sir’ and throw it in the dustbin‚” he said.
Everything was now in the hands of the voters‚ Holomisa concluded.