Buthelezi slams Gupta visit re­port

The Witness - - NEWS -

CAPE TOWN—IF P leader M an gosu thu Buthelezi yes­ter­day crit­i­cised a re­port de­tail­ing lo­gis­tics for the sin­gle visit he made to the Gupta homestead in Sax­on­wold, Johannesburg.

Men­tion was made in the Times of an email his par­lia­men­tary of­fice sent to Tony Gupta in 2016 re­quest­ing di­a­bet­icfriendly food for their lunch.

“It’s ab­surd that this was con­sid­ered news­wor­thy. When one is in­vited to lunch, the host rou­tinely asks about one’ s di­etary re­quire­ments ,” he said in a state­ment.

He pro­vided back­ground to the lunch, which was ap­par­ently used as an op­por­tu­nity by Gupta to ex­plain all the fam­ily had done for SA.

Buthelezi stressed that it was his first and last in­ter­ac­tion with the Gupta fam­ily.

In 2013, he had never per­son­ally met theGu pt as but re­ceived an in­vi­ta­tion to a three day fam­ily wed­ding.

“Min­is­ter sand former min­is­ters had been in­vited, and I pre­sumed that I had been in­cluded on the guest list as the former min­is­ter of Home Af­fairs. I there­fore hon­oured the in­vi­ta­tion ...”

While there he met Tony Gupta, who ap­par­ently then asked that they have lunch when­ever he was in Johannesburg again.

Buthelezi said they had no fur­ther con­tact un­til Fe­bru­ary 2016.

Gupta heard he was go­ing to be in Johannesburg for the fu­neral of Pro­fes­sor Her­bert Vi­lakaziandp ho ned his sec­re­tary to re­new his in­vi­ta­tion. He was ac­com­pa­nied by his son, Prince Z uzi faBu the lezi.

“Hav­ing ne­glected Mr G up ta’ sin vita ti on for so long, I agreed to stop a this house af­ter the fu­neral, on the way to the air­port ...” he said.

His sec­re­tary sent a sin­gle email on Fe­bru­ary 5 to Gupta to con­firm this .“It is un­clear why the leaked email is al­legedly dated 2 Ma y.”

He said the email was purely lo­gis­ti­cal, which is why the news­pa­per could find noth­ing more in­ter­est­ing than re­port­ing on his di­etary re­quire­ments.

TheBu the lez is ar­rived at the Gupta homestead as planned.

Gupta sought ad­vice on what the fam­ily should do to rec­tify the neg­a­tive image be­ing cre­ated about them, saidBu the lezi.

“I ad­vised him that they should pub­li­cise their side of the story. That was the ex­tent of our con­ver­sa­tion .”

They thanked Gupta for lunch and left for the air­port.—News 24.

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