WAS HE, WAS HE NOT? Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: THE HERALD
WAS HE, WAS HE NOT? Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: THE HERALD

DEPUTY Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas’s bombshell disclosure about being offered a ministerial post by the Gupta family will be part of the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) investigation into "state capture" by businesses.

On Tuesday, Mr Jonas confirmed that he would participate in the investigation that the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) resolved to conduct after damning allegations were made against the Guptas last week.

The Gupta family on Tuesday welcomed the process.

In a statement that was milder than the denials issued by the family last week, the Guptas indicated that the family would "fully co-operate".

After Mr Jonas’s disclosure last week that the family had offered him the position of finance minister ahead of the axing of Nhlanhla Nene late last year, the Guptas challenged him to repeat the allegations in court and questioned his ethics.

"Minister Jonas is attempting to cover up and divert attention away from his own relationships and practices.

"We are confident questions about its own ethical standards will be exposed," the Guptas said.

The family issued a similar statement about former Cabinet spokesman Themba Maseko, who told the Sunday Times that Mr Zuma had asked him to help the Gupta brothers while he was the head of the Government Communication and Information System.

The brothers, in response, said they were "bemused by Mr Maseko’s six-year-old allegations, which are totally unfounded". They added that the allegations formed part of a "politically driven" attack on the family. Mr Jonas has claimed he turned down the Guptas.

Mr Nene was replaced by MP Desmond van Rooyen, who spent just four days in the position after which he was pushed out following an investor backlash.

He was replaced by the current finance minister, Pravin Gordhan.

Mr Jonas said yesterday he had no reason not to trust the process when asked whether he felt it would tackle the concerns of ANC members who had gone public, saying the Guptas offered them executive positions under conditions.

The Gupta family said the ANC process should "allow the truth to be recognised" and put an end to the current "trial by innuendo and slander".

"We reiterate our support for the country’s Constitution and the rule of law and believe state capture from any quarter should be condemned. We remain committed to the overall well-being of SA and all its citizens," the family said.

Their tone changed following a meeting of the ANC’s NEC at the weekend in which Mr Zuma defended his relations with the family. Complaints relating to the Guptas and state capture are to be dealt with by the office of ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and a report will be submitted to the party’s national working committee.

The bulk of the members of the working committee are, however, Mr Zuma’s strongest backers.

Former MPs, ministers and government officials have also exposed attempts to influence them.

In its statement after its weekend executive committee meeting, the governing party criticised the Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper and television channel ANN7 for characterising the ANC as a "group of factions" supporting and opposing Mr Zuma.

The party’s leadership including Mr Mantashe and spokesman Zizi Kodwa, attended a meeting late yesterday with the newspaper and TV channel over the issue. Mr Zuma and the rest of the top six officials are expected to meet with the Gupta family this week.