With malice aforethought
31 August 2016 16:16 (South Africa)
South Africa

Ground-Up: "Zuma must disclose all Gupta deals and then go"

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  • South Africa
Photo by Reuters.

GroundUp's reporters asked people across the country what they thought of the revelations that members of the Gupta family have been offering Cabinet positions. Those who were willing to speak were all devastatingly critical of President Jacob Zuma. By GROUNDUP.

Mncedisi Tiyo, 43, who operates a carpentry shop in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, said: “It is clear that President Zuma and the Gupta family have done our country more harm than good. It is also clear that their relationship is surrounded by controversy, corruption and nepotism.

The president's corrupt relationship with the Guptas once compromised the security of the country after the family landed at the Waterkloof Air Base unannounced.

Zuma must do the right thing. He must first tell the nation about his private deals with the Guptas before he resigns. The sooner he resigns the better."

Mncedisi praised Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas for his bravery for going public that the Guptas offered him the Minister of Finance position. "I'd like to think that Jonas had many sleepless nights. I respect him for finally coming out clean and spilling the beans. I know it is not a simple move to call your president's friends to order, but Jonas had the courage to do it. Corruption and fraud is the order of the day under Zuma's administration."

Another angry resident is retrenched father Ndiphelele Matutu, 46, also of Motherwell. He has a child studying matric. He says ever since he stopped working in 2010, life has been hard. He does not get any social grants as he is still young and not disabled.

He said, "The Guptas have corrupted our people, especially the president and some top officials. The Guptas have lots of money and hence are using that money to buy their way into our government. They have virtually got into the pockets of our ministers. The money being used to pay their corrupt activities should be used to build better infrastructure, educate our children and buy medicines for our struggling clinics."

He said all ministers and top officials should come out clean and reveal their relationships with corrupt people like the Gupta family. He said he admired Jonas for what he had done.

Nokuzola Ngqele, 45, from Motherwell is unemployed. She runs a small spaza shop. She has been robbed several times. She stays with her elderly mother and her siblings' children.

She said that, though she is not a politician, she feels let down by President Zuma in the wake of Jonas's revelations.

"There is too much corruption in the country. I think the Guptas could have manipulated this weakness and fell in bed with our president. I like ANC, but not this present-day party led by Zuma and his corrupt friends. Zuma should fall and pave the way for a right-minded person.

We have become the laughing stock of not only Africa, but the world … Please tell Zuma to resign before our Rand is like the Zim dollar."

John Tembo from Zimbabwe says the idea of rich or elite individuals or families involved in government issues is not unique to South Africa.

These rich individuals or families come in the name of investors, then later manipulate the whole government system. It is only that [because] there is democracy in the country [that] people can say out [loud] what has gone wrong.

Zuma has shown he is not the right person to continue leading the country. But the South Africans have the final voice on whether Zuma should step down.”

Mawethu Ngxanga is a 45-year-old father of two. He is unemployed, but often does casual work near his home in TR Section, Khayelitsha.

It's the first time I'm hearing about this or Gupta family. That family [Gupta's] can't be making the decisions. It's for the President to get the ministers. I don't think Zuma will last, but the ANC should stay in power.”

Vusi Tshaza, 27, is unemployed and says he grew up living in TR Section in Khayelitsha.

He said: “I support the ZumaMustFall movement because look what he is doing to our country. In the eight years he has been president, what has he done to change our lives? There are so many matriculants in this area who can't find work. Zuma has the power to do something about it, but he doesn't. Maybe it's time for another party to take over.”

Site C resident Pumeza Mzukwa, 44, is unemployed and says she has given up on trying to find work.

She said: “It's an embarrassment for us as a country. When my niece came home from work yesterday and told me what happened, I was shocked. The ANC will definitely lose some members after this scandal.

Thembela Fipaza, 48, owns a small clothing shop near the Site C train station.

She said: “Who are the Guptas? I don't know anything about that. Mandela and maybe [Thabo] Mbeki were the only Presidents who actually did something for us. I'm not going to vote because it will go to waste if Zuma is still leading the ANC.”

Ndileka Maquba, 39, says she is optimistic her 16-year-old son's generation will see change in South Africa.

She said: “Right now, I feel like we don't have a parliament or a president. If we can change the people in power. Things will get better.”

Mitchells Plain resident Sandra Wessels, 47, said she would like to see more opportunities being given to youths.

I don't really pay attention to politics, but I know from what you told me, what that Gupta family is doing is wrong. The people should decide who becomes ministers, like we vote for local councillors. I don't think Zuma will last as president because he is a 'skelm'.

"If our president can steal, what's stopping me from going into a shop and just taking what I want. My daughters, 26 and 21, are still looking for work.”

Paralegal Bukiwe Cheku, 34, said: “I don't know much about this, but I haven't been happy with most of the decisions, especially financial choices, Zuma has been making. I will always vote ANC, but it's time for new leadership.”

Ncumisa Poni from King William’s Town said, “As much as I do not have much information about these Guptas, it’s clear that our government loves them.

My opinion is President Jacob Zuma must leave with his Guptas. And we demand the Constitutional Court investigate these Guptas. It’s clear that the Gupta family is very corrupt,” said Poni.

Mlisela Hibana from East London said, “The Gupta family is very powerful and they manipulate the state.

I heard on TV news about Jonas. This is compromising our democracy. It’s clear now that government is for certain individuals. Zuma must leave with his Guptas, now that it is all out in the open.

This explains why he managed to remove President Mbeki. He must have used the Gupta money to buy some people to be on his corner. I believe a lot of people are implicated or working for these Guptas. ANC is no longer ANC but the African National Confusers,” he said.

Asiphe Mgabela said it is time the country is led by a woman.

We are tired of this Administration for National Corruption party. If journalists can dig deep, I think lots of political people are working with the Guptas. Maybe if we can be led by a woman things are going to be better,” said Mgabela.

Siya Matoti is a first-year student studying law. GroundUp interviewed him at Lanseria Airport.

"The president should cut all ties with the Guptas because first of all they are messing up our unity within the government. They are messing up the way the system works. ... Zuma should stop denying ties and deals he has with people. ... [He should be impeached] because although he has done some good things for the country, he is not fit any more to be president of South Africa. ... I have never had confidence in him since the beginning." DM

Originally published on GroundUp. Copyright (C) GroundUp 2016. All rights reserved.

Photo: President Jacob Zuma at the ANC Youth League Conference in 2013. Photo by Greg Nicolson.

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