ANC's Mantashe warns of 'mafia state'

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa risks turning into a "mafia state", a senior governing party official has warned, as pressure grows on President Jacob Zuma over his links with a wealthy family.

Gwede Mantashe made the comments after deputy Finance Minister Mcebesi Jonas alleged the Gupta family had offered him a government promotion.

During a rowdy parliamentary session, Mr Zuma denied the family had influenced cabinet appointments.

The opposition called on him resign.

Mr Mantashe is the third most powerful person in the governing African National Congress (ANC), and his remarks suggest Mr Zuma may be losing the confidence of influential members of the party as well, correspondents say.

Mr Zuma's presidency has been marred by allegations of corruption, cronyism and incompetence, amid a worsening economic situation.

The crisis deepened on Wednesday, when Mr Jonas said that a member of the Gupta family had made "a mockery of our hard-earned democracy" by offering to promote him to the minister's job last year.

The family also denied the allegation.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Mr Mantashe, the ANC secretary-general, said: "We need to deal with this; it will degenerate into a mafia state if this goes on."

He told the BBC that Mr Zuma was not "untouchable", but denied that the party planned to oust him.

The ANC would, however, deal with the "corporate capture" of government, Mr Mantashe said.

Questioned by the opposition in parliament about Mr Jonas' allegation, Mr Zuma said: "I'm in charge of the government. There is no minister who was ever appointed by the Guptas."

The speaker ordered opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane to leave the chamber for breaching parliamentary rules, prompting the party's MPs to walk out in solidarity with him.

Comments (3)

Zuma is the same as Mugabe , he is corrupt and he was imposed on the people by the ANCYL, under Malema so they are seeing his evil side and how can you expect some who's adviser was jailed for corruption to a clean man, you don't need a rocket scientist to tell you, its obvious he is also corrupt,

Mudhara - 18 March 2016

Mudhara is horribly ignorant,the youth league has no power to remove a leader in the ANC.The ANC subjects itself to democratic processes of the Organisation as laid down in its constitution,Zuma was duly elected at Polokwane in an elective conference.The removal of Mbeki as state president was the decision of the National Executive Committee and by then,Malema was not president of the Youth League but Fikile Mbalula.Next time you want to comment just get your facts right.

Gen Spinola - 18 March 2016

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