“A lot of things seemed to be linked with the Gupta family and the government”

On Tuesday this week, ANC MP Vytjie Mentor revealed that she had been offered the job of Minister of Public Works by the Gupta family and had turned it down. The next day, Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas confirmed that he too had been offered a job by the Guptas, this time as Finance Minister. The Gupta family had previously dismissed these claims based on an investigation by The Sunday Times. President Jacob Zuma breezed past questions about his relationship with the family in Parliament on Thursday. With the whole debacle unlikely to reach a conclusion any time soon, KWAZI DLAMINI spoke to people at KwaMashu shopping centre about the debacle that has the country talking.

Sihle NgcoboSihle Ngcobo, 22, Siyanda Township, merchandising
I am not a political person but I have seen people talking about it on Facebook. It seems very bad. The president has been accused of so many things – even before he was made the head of state he was accused of so many crimes. I guess now it shows that he shouldn’t have been president in the first place. I think the media is doing a great job to inform us about such things even though some people here in townships do not read news. I have previously seen the name “Gupta” in newspapers but I did not know much about them.

Bontle MakhobongwaneBontle Makhobongwana, 27, KwaMashu E, teacher
It was about time everyone knew what was going on in higher places. The Gupta family has been in charge of this country for a long time now. It first started with their jet landing in Waterkloof, our national key point as far as I remember. Anyone found responsible must be prosecuted, whether it’s the president or the Guptas. Someone must be held accountable. It is no surprise that rural places are lacking infrastructure; the country is not run by who we think it is. The power of the media plays a big role in things like these because most people know what is going on but they are silenced by money. It cannot be all these ministers are lying, there is three of them who have claimed to have been offered jobs by the family.

Nomanesi SigaxaNomanesi Sigaxa, 45, Bester, street vendor
I don’t really care about what is going on in parliament because I’m here in the townships trying to make a living and put food on the table for my children. To be honest, I am not well educated about these things even when I read newspapers I only read about people who were killed, I do not read politics because it’s complicated and full of liars. I vote because they tell us to vote otherwise I am not interested in politics and i want to keep receiving grant money for my children. If those Gupta people are stealing our money they must be arrested.

Mandla NkosiMandla Nkosi, 30, KwaMashu, taxi driver
I heard this thing with the president and the Guptas but I don’t think it is true. It is just a smear campaign against the president; they want to discredit him and the ANC as the elections are approaching. Our people are being misled by the white media. They are fed wrong information about our leaders, but we who know the truth will not fall for that. No one can just change ministers except the president. I heard that there is a division within the ANC so this is probably a result of that division they want to overturn the president like it happened to Thabo Mbeki.

Emmanuel MhlabaEmmanuel Mhlaba, 20, Ntuzuma, Grade 11 pupil
I think this spells the end for the president. He messed up and he knows it, and it was not the first time something like this happened. The president must just do the honourable thing and resign; he has put the country through a lot. The media is doing a good job by exposing this thing, I read news on my Facebook. I liked social media pages for newspapers and I know about what is going on. This is chasing away investors in our country and more people will be without jobs. A lot of things seemed to be linked with the Gupta family and the government, they have been benefiting from the government for a long time now and they have to be stopped.

Voxes have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Featured image via GovernmentZA on Flickr