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'Cabinet not influenced by businesspeople'

Mar 03 2011 11:23 Sapa

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Cape Town - The cabinet has expressed "shock and dismay" at media reports alleging that its decisions were influenced by business people, government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said on Thursday.

"Media reports alleging improper and undue influence by the Gupta family over members of the cabinet were noted.

"Cabinet expressed shock and dismay at the insinuation that its decisions are influenced by businesspeople or their commercial interests," said Manyi.

He was addressing a post-cabinet meeting media briefing in parliament.

He said the cabinet was guided by the constitution, the country's laws and its code of ethics in the execution of its duties.

Cabinet "strongly condemned" the use of the names of the president and cabinet members in the pursuit of private business deals, he said.

"(Cabinet) urges those who may be doing so to stop this practice."

The Sunday Times this week reported that a revolt was brewing in the ANC and its alliance partners against the influence of the Gupta family over President Jacob Zuma and his government.

The newspaper said it understood that the Guptas' role in influencing the appointment of CEOs and chairpersons in key state-owned enterprises was recently raised at an ANC national working committee meeting and would be formally discussed at its next gathering in a week.

ANC deployment committee members revealed at a meeting last Monday that new Transnet CEO Brian Molefe, believed to be favoured by the Guptas, had been appointed by the cabinet without their say.

The Gupta brothers - Atul, Ajay and Rajesh, also known as Tony - are said to wield so much power that they often summon cabinet ministers and senior government officials to their family compound in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.

The Guptas, through family spokesperson Gary Naidoo, dismissed the allegations as "rubbish" and said they were an attempt to "denigrate" Zuma and his office.

Manyi said that every South African and "legitimate legal persona" from anywhere in the world had the right to conduct business in South Africa.

jimmy manyi  |  jacob zuma  |  gupta brothers  |  cabinet
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