The Gupta family would welcome a judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture‚ their lawyer Gert van der Merwe said on Tuesday.
The family has come under intense scrutiny as a cache of damning leaked emails have been published‚ exposing the extent to which they have allegedly “captured” influential politicians and benefited from lucrative state contracts.
Van der Merwe‚ speaking on Jacaranda FM‚ said he would prefer to avoid a “trial by media”‚ which could cloud opinions.
He said that he had never suggested that the leaked emails were “made up” but said they needed to be the subject of an independent probe.
The family therefore would support a judicial inquiry‚ he said.
The interview‚ which touched on the lighter side of his interactions with the Guptas‚ saw him quipping that he had never had a drink at the infamous Saxonwold shebeen.
Asked if he had met any ministers or the president‚ he said‚ “I have not met the president or any ministers‚ but I have met the president’s son‚ Duduzane Zuma‚” whom he did legal work for.
Van der Merwe shot down claims that the family had fled the country last year. “Like any other normal family‚ they left for the wedding of one of the brother’s sons in Turkey‚” he said.
He said the Gupta brothers were “pleasant” people to work with‚ and added that during his interactions with them over the years he was “never exposed to ill-doing”.
“I will do my job to my best ability‚ no matter the consequences‚” he said.
The pressure of being their legal representative was worth his while as they‚ too‚ were entitled to representation.
“As far as I know‚ my firm has never facilitated any financial activities between the Guptas and the ruling party‚” he reiterated.
The explosive leaked emails surfaced as President Jacob Zuma fights for his political life.
The emails show the extent of Gupta control over cabinet ministers and parastatal CEOs and board members.
The correspondence also gives insight into the role of Zuma’s son Duduzane in presidential matters.
Duduzane is a close Gupta associate and is believed to have made billions through this partnership.
Economic Freedom Fighters spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said last week that the party rejected any judicial commission of inquiry into state capture appointed solely by the president.
“In keeping with the recommendations of the public protector‚ a judicial commission of inquiry that will be investigating Zuma cannot at the same time be solely appointed by Zuma. This will result in a conflict of interests‚ in that it violates the basic principle of fair justice‚” he said.