Speaker Baleka Mbete has made some baffling revelation on how was invited to Saxonwold the home of the rich controversial Gupta Family.

The ANC chairwoman also said that there is no campaigning under way for the African National Congress presidency position

“There is no [leadership] race taking place in the ANC,” she said in an interview in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

“The party has expressed itself very clear earlier in the year to say there is no race, there is no campaign,” she insisted. “It therefore is not expected that ANC cadres should be engaging in activities that are campaign inclined.”

She said people might be making statements in response to certain issues and might possibly be quoted out of context. “The statements they are saying may not necessarily be meaning they are campaigning.” Mbete said.

Mbete also declined to confirm or deny that she might contest the ANC presidency. “You must not force us to answer these questions; we are not allowed to answer,” she said. “Anybody engaging in campaigns will be viewed as unofficial, can be viewed as defiantly breaking the rules of the ANC. It can lead to disciplinary action, provided it is proved to be campaigning,” she said.

Asked about the influence of the wealthy, politically connected Gupta family, Mbete said: “I have never been to Saxonwold [the Gupta family compound in Johannesburg]. I just remember one of the Gupta brothers in Luthuli House just making a general invitation. ‘You must come home, the old lady cooks some nice curry’, he said, but I’ve never been to their home,” she said.  

The 1million rand question most South Africans are asking is ”what exactly is a Gupta brother doing in Luthuli House?”

A lot of cabinet ministers and prominent office holders have been accused of being captured by the rich controversial Gupta family.

On calls for Zuma to step down, Mbete said the calls could not “conclusively” be taken as the will of the nation.

“How do we know that we can truly say that this is a call of the nation?” she asked. “A few of us [making a] loud enough noise to capture a lot of attention, that doesn’t necessarily amount to a national call. We have never conducted a referendum on the basis of what we can now say the nation is definitely of this view.

“The ANC, before we go to the policy conference, will engage in a consultative process about general issues of concern as brought to our attention. This will inform us on the issues in some sectors and groupings who have raised issue about the leader of the ANC.

“2017 is a very important year for the ANC. I think it will be very wrong of us to disrupt the official steps that take us to electing a new leadership collective. We have agreed with our veterans and stalwarts that we will have two days of consultation just before stepping into the policy conference,” she said.

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