Johannesburg - As public outcry over Guptagate grows, Corruption Watch has questioned how the Gupta family have been afforded "extraordinary privilege" over the years the family has enjoyed links to government.
The anti-corruption group's spokesman David Lewis said government's proposal to root out tenderpreneuring and "name dropping" by private individuals hoping to win government contracts, trivialised a maor problem faced in South Africa.
"Justice Minister Jeff Radebe’s proposal that a public service campaign be introduced to discourage a 'negative culture of name dropping’ overlooks the real issues," Lewis said in a statement today.
The group was responding to the findings of a government inquiry into how a private partly plane carrying guests of the Gupta family, landed at Air Force Base Waterkloof in April.
Lewis said the organisation called for investigations into criminal liability and "if criminality is found, they should be charged."
Yesterday, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said informal "name dropping" may have been the reason why the Gupta party plane landed at a national key point.
But Lewis, today, questioned government's findings.
"But how could this happen? How is it possible to ‘misrepresent’ that one speaks in the name of the President or a member of the cabinet without evidence of this, without evidence of formal authority?
He said Guptagate, was an indication of "a serious breakdown in administration at the highest level."
"How can the public be expected to accept that if a violation of security of this dimension could have been secured by misrepresentation, that the same does not occur in the issuing of licences or tenders or in the range of administrative decisions that are taken on a daily basis by public officials in their engagement with well-resourced private parties and firms?
"It would seem that mere mention of the Gupta family in the same breath as the names of senior of the executive was sufficient to procure the most extraordinary privilege and to result in the most flagrant breaches of law and security considerations."
Lewis said Radebe's use of the term 'name dropping; trivialised the issue of "starkly inappropriate relationships between senior people in public life and elements of the business community."