South Africa’s ruling party needs to deal with the allegations of corruption and undue influence by the Gupta family and clear out the “rot,” said Barbara Hogan, a former minister of both health and public enterprises.

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas on Wednesday said members of the millionaire Gupta family, to which President Jacob Zuma has ties, personally offered him the job of taking over the finance ministry. This is the latest in a series of embarrassing revelations linked to Zuma that have led opponents and allies alike to question his judgment. Leaders of his African National Congress will meet this weekend.

“This is a defining moment,” Hogan said on Johannesburg-based Talk Radio 702. “This cannot be swept under the carpet.” The ANC’s NEC “has an historical mission like never before. It has to deal with this rot, it has to clear it out.”

ANC General Secretary Gwede Mantashe told Business Day newspaper that if the situation wasn’t tackled, the country could become a “mafia state where all what the state will be doing is to nurse interests of family businesses.”

Hogan said she’s “very encouraged” by Mantashe’s stance. “I do believe the rotten forces are on the back foot.” Party members who defend Zuma “are not going to win this battle. They are going to lose. In the interests of the country going forward, recognize you’re staring defeat in the face.”

Hogan, who led the Department of Public Enterprises from May 2009 until Zuma replaced her with Malusi Gigaba in November 2010, said there “were definitely sinister forces” operating “behind my back” when she ran the ministry.

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