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Anthony Butler Takes a Look at the Politics Behind the Criticism of the Gupta Family

The Idea of the ANCAnthony Butler has written about the political figures and parties who have publicly spoken against the Gupta family, after they landed a private jet at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, which is a National Key Point.

Butler looks back to the ANC’s national conference at Mangaung and asks whether “the Gupta uproar could be a flexing of muscles by a diverse but loosely co-ordinated coalition that supported Zuma at Mangaung for tactical reasons only”:

The Gupta family has been subjected to unprecedented criticism during the Waterkloof scandal. But the conventional account — of decent men and women in the African National Congress (ANC) who have finally “had enough” — is not deeply persuasive.

The uproar could easily have been contained by a now familiar formula: bluster from ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu; the invocation of the National Key Points Act; and the claim that “security” justifies both a controversial event and a secretive investigation. Race was also open to exploitation. In March, after all, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe described attacks on the Guptas as motivated by the fact that family members “do not look white enough”.

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