In a bizarre, seemingly sombre moment of reflection, ANC Youth League president Collin Maine has said that North West premier Supra Mahumapelo is the person who introduced him to the Guptas. Maine has previously defended the controversial family, and has been linked financially to them.
According to City Press, in a leaked recording, Maine seems almost regretful of his relationship with the businessmen, who fled the country earlier this year and are wanted by the authorities. In the recording, Maine is reportedly heard telling supporters at a memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on Tuesday that party supporters should leave the ANC out of it, if he should have to go to court over the Guptas.
"Mam' Winnie never went to the Guptas like some of us did ... and we did not take ourselves there, we were taken to the Guptas. She never wanted to do that because she remained true to the ANC.
"I was taken there comrades ... in the first place I was not supposed to go there [to the Guptas]. I was not taken by Zuma, the person who took me there was Supra Obakeng Mahumapelo," Maine reportedly said.
"If my going there [to the Guptas] means that at some point I must appear in court, don't follow me ... you never said I must go there. Take the ANC out of that.
"Don't follow me if I must go to court, I went there [to the Guptas] on my own. We rather as individuals face the consequences of our actions, not the ANC."
"The ANC must stay clean like pure white milk ... it must focus on the people's interests and not our own individual interests... In the spirit of Mam' Winnie, we must stand up and say 'no wrong shall be done in my name'. I know it is difficult. I know you are used to being given money. Don't do it. Leave the money and take the ANC in your hands. I am not proud of myself. We can say this publicly because we're not afraid of anything. If anything happens it is fine, but the ANC will not disappear with me," he reportedly said.
In 2016, amaBhungane reported on evidence that suggests the Guptas paid for Maine's R140,000 a month home on a golf estate near Pretoria.
In the run-up to the ANC's leadership contest in December, Maine was linked to the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faction, which ultimately lost to President Cyril Ramaphosa. This faction was said to include Mahumapelo and the so-called "Premier League", the premiers of the North West, Free State and Mpumalanga.
He was a vocal critic of anyone opposing state capture and called former finance minister Pravin Gordhan an "impimpi".
In an SABC News recording from November 2016, Maine defended his relationship with the Guptas, saying there was no law preventing him from working with them. He said having a business relationship with them did not mean he was "captured".
The so-called Gupta Leaks revelations in 2017 showed how Maine received talking points from the Guptas - an allegation he vehemently denied.