President Jacob Zuma has been in the centre of many discussions in parliament but never one as heated as the ‘Guptagate’ debate that took place this Wednesday. Opposition parties did not take kindly to the fact that the president was absent from the debate. The Democratic Alliance had specifically requested Jacob Zuma to attend the debate.
Tempers flared and fingers were pointed at the president for having created the perfect setting for the likes of the Gupta family to do as they please in South Africa without fear of repercussions. According to Times Live, the defence spokesperson for the Democratic Alliance David Maynier pointed the finger squarely at the president. He said: “The root cause of the problem, which led to ‘Guptagate’, is President Jacob Zuma.”
He explained that Zuma’s close associations with the prominent Reddy, Gupta and Shaik families laid the foundation for the trend of abusing power and influence in the country. He also recommended that Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Minister of Defence, should take some of heat for ‘Guptagate’. She did not disclose the full details of the application submitted by the Gupta family to land at the restricted Waterkloof Air Force Base.
The Democratic Alliance did not miss the opportunity to call the public’s attention to the 2014 elections. “In the end, if we really want to ensure that something like this never happens again, then we have to come together in our thousands, we have to come together in our tens of thousands, we have to come together in our millions and, together, ‘fire’ President Jacob Zuma on election day in 2014.”
The African National Congress discounted the opposition’s negative response to the report and subsequent attack on Zuma as campaign strategy for next year’s elections. Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said that the opposition hates President Zuma so much that it cannot be objective in any issue that involves the president.
The report contains the findings of the investigation that was commissioned by the government. The government promised an open and transparent report that would provide answers about ‘Guptagate’. The DA calls this report, delivered a short while before the debate on Wednesday, a ‘cover-up’.