12/06/2017 05:20 BST | Updated 12/06/2017 06:11 BST

Nathi Mthethwa: Some Have Betrayed Zuma Like Judas Betrayed Jesus

The arts and culture minister says Zuma's critics are missing the bigger picture - white ownership of the economy.

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 01: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Police minister Nathi Mthethwa addresses the media during a press conference at the Rosebank Police Station, on August 1, 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa. A South African Police (SAPS) firearms clerk shot and killed a police captain, fired at and injured the station manager of the Rosebank police station then turned the gun on himself. (Photo by The Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Arts And Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has come out fiercely in support of President Jacob Zuma, telling a crowd near Durban that some ANC leaders have betrayed Zuma the way Judas Escariot betrayed Jesus, The Star reported on Monday.

He reportedly said people who were focused on the Guptas were losing sight of the "bigger picture", which was white monopoly capital.

"Judas took the money to betray Jesus. Some of our comrades have been bought. You see this when a comrade is out of control to talk badly about the ANC and its president," he reportedly told an ANC cadres forum in Molweni, west of Durban.

"So you say people who own 97% do not exist. Our own comrades are saying that. They even sweat saying that. People are petty. They are fighting President Zuma, and they are losing sight of the bigger picture. They want the bigger picture of the economy to continue to be in the hands of white people.

"Why chase a lizard when there are crocodiles? The whole nation is made to focus on 5% and forget about the companies that have been getting big contracts from the government for the past 40 years," Mthethwa said.

SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo told The Star that Mthethwa was wrong to think the party had not criticised white monopoly capital.

"Nathi Mthethwa must have been sleeping when the SACP was leading campaigns against large sections of monopoly capital... Nathi Mthwethwa must be concerned about our people who were oppressed under apartheid who own nothing in this economy. But the Guptas have becomes South Africa's top billionaires. That is not a crumb compared to millions of our people who live in shacks and have nothing," he said.

This follows remarks by former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa last week, that the ANC's national executive committee would have to be dissolved to save the ANC.

"Our people have lost faith in the ANC. The scandals are higher than Mount Kilimanjaro. To build the ANC we must go back to the branches and unite them," Phosa reportedly said. He has accepted nominations from seven Cape Town branches who want him to contest the presidency of the ANC at the party's elective conference in December, The Star reported.