SA’s Gupta family quits firm over Zuma ties
South Africa’s beleaguered Gupta family has decided to quit its company amid increasing calls for a probe into the Indian-origin business barons’ alleged influence in the government through links with President Jacob Zuma, whose son also resigned from the firm after the furore. The three Gupta brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh have been under immense pressure for the past few months after several high-ranking members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), including the current Deputy Minister of Finance, claimed that the family had offered them government positions, including appointments as ministers.
The Guptas have denied these allegations, which have been termed as “state capture”. Zuma’s son Duduzane, who held a directorship in the company after starting there as an intern a few years ago, also resigned amid the political storm over the issue.
There have been widespread calls from several compatriots and aides of late President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela as well as civil society and churches for Zuma to resign in the wake of the allegations and a finding by the country’s highest judicial body, the Constitutional Court, that he had breached his duties in terms of the Constitution.
But the ANC has come out in defence of their leader. Simultaneous, pressure on the Guptas has seen Oakbay’s banks and financiers all severing their association with the business in the past fortnight. “It is with deep regret and a heavy heart, that following a period of sustained political attack on our family and our businesses, we have taken the decision to resign all executive and non-executive positions held in Oakbay Investments, by Gupta family members,” the Guptas said in a statement on
Oakbay’s executive committee and the CEOs of each of the businesses will continue to oversee the management and running of the business and all portfolio companies going forward. The Guptas cited the risk to its thousands of employees and their dependents as having influenced their decision.
“By stepping down from all executive and non-executive positions and any involvement in the business, we hope to save the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people in our great rainbow nation,” it said. Oakbay Investments earlier claimed that it has invested more than 10 billion rand in South Africa and employs more than 4,500 people. Reacting to allegations that the company had benefited unfairly from government contracts, Oakbay said less than 1 per cent of its revenue was from government contracts.