Business worried about state capture probe

IOL gupta zuma zupta done GCIS File photo: Atul Gupta, President Jacob Zuma and the First Lady MaNtuli Zuma

Johannesburg – Organised South African business groups this week expressed concern about allegations of “State capture” by the controversial Gupta family, and urged the African National Congress (ANC) as the ruling party to restore confidence.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), the Black Business Council (BBC), and the Business Leadership SA (BLSA) all welcomed the ANC’s investigation into the reported “capture of the state”.

But the groups were concerned about the process and the unintended results the allegations had on business confidence.

This follows the decision by the ANC national executive committee (NEC) to investigate serious allegations made by senior party officials and cabinet members that they had been offered ministerial positions by the Gupta family in return of certain favours.

Alan Mukoki, chief executive of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), this week said he didn’t think that anyone in business would be satisfied about the outcomes of the ANC NEC meeting.

The ANC NEC on Sunday released a statement, saying it had full confidence in President Jacob Zuma and tasked the office of secretary general Gwede Mantashe to investigate claims against the Guptas.

Mukoki said that though the ANC was an important organisation in the platform of what South Africa Incorporated was supposed to be about, there were concerns about how it handled crises in recent years.

When approached for comment, Mukoki referred to a television interview he did with CNBC earlier this week.

“Clearly there is a very serious problem with how they (the ANC) manage a crisis, there is also a very serious problem with how they communicate the crisis itself,” he said.

Mukoki said investors were worried about stability and uncertainty in the country as a result of internal ANC squabbles.

He said all these issues did not inspire confidence and the ANC was making unforced errors which were spilling over to the country.

“We, as investors, we worry about the level of stability and uncertainty that has been created in the country because the ruling party itself seems to be unraveling because of issues that are internal. All these things should not be happening in a serious-minded party. They, as the ANC, are now causing the country a problem, and we as business are watching from outside and asking what are they trying to achieve and why are they not particularly transparent about it,” Mukoki said.

Also this week, the Black Business Council (BBC) and the Business Leadership SA (BLSA) welcomed the call made by the ANC for its members to come forth with information that would assist it to address allegations of state or party capture by business.

“The BBC believes that the process taken by the NEC is an important one and should further reassure our citizens that corruption will not be tolerated at any level,” BBC chief executive Mohale Ralebitso said in a statement.

Though the BLSA welcomed the ANC’s investigation into the “capture of the state” by some businesses, it said it was concerned about the process.

“It is debatable whether the office of the secretary-general of the ANC is the appropriate place to exclusively gather this information and analyse it,” BLSA president Saki Macozoma told the Business Day on Wednesday.

Senior party and government officials have confirmed they were made offers by members of the Gupta family, among which was deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.

African News Agency

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