South Africa: President Jacob Zuma under pressure as anger mounts over Guptagate

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma denied some ministers have been appointed by the GuptasSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Pressure is mounting on South Africa's President Jacob Zuma due to his close ties with a wealthy Indian family accused of wielding excessive political influence in the African country. South African officials and public figures have been accusing the Gupta family of influencing political decisions days after two ministers alleged they were offered promotions by the Indian magnates.

Zola Tsotsi, former chairman of state power firm Eskom, told the Mail & Guardian newspaper he was allegedly forced to leave the company by the Guptas, who built a business empire in South Africa after emigrating from India in the 1990s. "Two months after the appointment they called me and said they will have me fired because I am not playing the game. I was forced to resign shortly after that," Tsotsi alleged.

Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Gwede Mantashe, claimed the country might turn into a "Mafia state". He told Bloomberg: "We need to deal with this; it will degenerate into a Mafia state if this goes on. The fact we are talking about this so boldly now shows that things are going to change."

Some analysts believe Zuma, who has been urged by the opposition to resign, will lose the trust of influential members within the ANC following Mantashe's comments.

Advertisement

The latest accusations against the Guptas came days after deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas claimed he was offered the position of finance minister by the family. Earlier in March, Vytjie Mentor, former MP from the governing African National Congress (ANC), also alleged she was offered the position of minister of public enterprises by the Guptas.

Both the family and Zuma have denied the allegations. During a parliamentary session on 17 March, the president said: "I'm in charge of the government. There is no minister who was ever appointed by the Guptas."

© Copyright 2017 IBTimes Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.