The African National Congress, the leading political party in South Africa, has slammed a report from the Sunday Times. The report claims that the wealthy Gupta family chose then-Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas to be the new Finance Minister in South Africa. The Guptas are a wealthy and politically-connected family that is notorious in South Africa for their close relations with President Jacob Zuma.
The report alleges that the Gupta family offered Jonas the job after he agreed to fire a list of employees in the Treasury that opposed a proposed nuclear program. The fired employees would then be replaced by people pro-nuclear. The Gupta family, through their Shiva Uranium company, would stand to gain from the nuclear program. The four employees on the list have long opposed the proposed program, arguing that it would bankrupt the country.
The ANC blasted the report in a statement and called it “gossip mongering being masqueraded as news.” The political group also criticized the Sunday Times’ use of anonymous sources. South Africa’s press self-regulation agency, the Press Council, has a Press Code for journalists. The Code warns against anonymous sources to “avoid the use of anonymous sources unless there is no other way to deal with a story.” The ANC says that the Sunday Times’ journalism is “poor and shoddy.”
The ANC also claims that it will take its case to the Press Council’s Press Ombudsman. The Press Ombudsman judges cases regarding the news media and decides on what consequence will come, if any. The Press Ombudsman has gone in favor of the media, the plaintiff, or sometimes dismissed the case. The Ombudsman has ordered corrections and retractions in the past.
TKNN reached out to the Sunday Times for comment. There was no response at press time.