Over the weekend, a series of explosive e-mails, detailing how the Gupta family has been running South Africa from their sprawling multimillion-rand Saxonwold compound was exposed by the media.
The damning document was dumped on the digital laps of South Africans while Zuma was fighting for his political life amid heavy confrontation by some ANC members at the ANC NEC meeting.
The said emails weaved the Gupta Epic into a comprehensive narrative, accounting how they exercised control over cabinet ministers, state-owned companies, several CEOs and board members.
Evidence of the Gupta family’s unprecedented control over government affairs also enmeshed Sahara CEO Ashu Chawla in the intricate web of state capture.
In a nutshell, the emails revealed the following:
- Draft letters from President Jacob Zuma on January 16, 2016, to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. In the second letter, Zuma wrote: “It is with this sentiment that I am happy to inform you that my family has decided to make the UAE the second home. It will be a great honor for me and my family to gain your patronage during our proposed residency in the UAE.”
- The Guptas sponsored Des van Rooyen’s trip to Dubai in 2015. Van Rooyen made the controversial travel after his appointment to the cabinet in December 2015. Gupta-owned Sahara Computers CEO Chawla made the arrangement. Van Rooyen was chauffeured around Dubai with a Jaguar XJ L from the airport to the hotel and booked a deluxe suite, which costs about R6,000 a night.
- They forwarded Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s CV to President Jacob Zuma a month before Zuma appointed him minister of mineral resources in September 2015.
- The controversial family also arranged for Denel director Dan Mantsha to be chauffeured around Dubai. Chawla confirmed Mantsha’s travel arrangement on January 3, 2016.
- Guptas’ Sahara Computer heavily paid for a deluxe suite for Matshela Koko, who was later appointed acting CEO of Eskom at the luxurious Oberoi Hotel in Dubai. Koko was the Eskom group executive in charge of generating power at the time. He checked in on January 4, 2016, and left the next day.
- A board member of the South African Airways (SAA), Rajesh Naithani, asked the Guptas to appoint him to the board of Transnet. This was after he was dumped in 2014. Between September and November 19, 2014, Naithani sent Tony Gupta three emails, pleading with him to “get me in at Transnet”.
- They also requested President Jacob Zuma to strengthen the powers of the then communications minister, Faith Muthambi. And this was honored.
- Muthambi severally handed confidential information on cabinet meetings to the family.
- They also coached Mining Minister Zwane on how to tackle media conferences, including questions about his relationship with the Guptas.
- Zwane was among the passengers in the Guptas’ private jet who traveled to convince Glencore boss Ivor Glassenberg to sell them the Optimum coal mine.
- Nazeem Howa, the CEO in one of the Gupta-owned companies prepared notes for ANC Youth League president Collen Maine, advising him on how to answer questions from the media.
- The ‘tutorials’ covered how to tackle questions on the anti-Gupta revolt within the ANC, state capture, his attacks on banks, #FeesMustFall and his relationship with North West premier Supra Mahumapelo.
- The Guptas pressed Zuma to allow their guests in June 2015 to depart for Mauritius through the Fireblade Aviation – a luxury terminal at OR Tambo International Airport, owned by the Oppenheimer family.
Zuma, Others Deny Wrongdoing
In response to the damning document, President Zuma, on Sunday, denied planning to move to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after his leadership.
He, however, failed to react to questions about his cabinet ministers’ communications with the Guptas.
“I have my home in Nkandla and I have no intention of living anywhere else. When I retire I will go home to Nkandla. This is a pure fabrication. Duduzane has never spoken to me about living in any other country. He has never shown me any letter. It’s shocking in the extreme. It’s absolute mischief aimed at sowing confusion.”
The cat with the nine lives survived another attempted purge during the ANC NEC meeting held over the weekend. The meeting ended inconclusively after the president resisted every attempt to have him removed.
Zwane, a staunch Gupta defender is yet to comment on the matter, as he is currently out of the country to promote investment.
Des van Rooyen’s spokesman Legadima Leso said the minister would comment once he arrives South Africa today. He attended a conference on disaster risk reduction.
ANCYL president Collen Maine simply shut down the matter by saying: “That is rubbish, I don’t respond to rubbish”.
The Gupta Family Control
The Gupta family has been best described as a bunch of opportunistic scumbags acting with the blessing and protection of the most powerful man in the country – Zuma.
Since their arrival, they have mingled and pulled the royalty of the ruling party through the mire, manipulating virtually all the sectors of government.
No doubt, the leaked emails now confirmed the accurateness of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report, in which she aired the filthiness of players like Duduzane Zuma (the middleman), Mosebenzi Zwane, the former Minister of Communications (now Minister of Public Service), Faith Muthambi, principals in the energy, broadcasting, and defence SOEs.
Meanwhile, Gert van der Merwe‚ a lawyer for the Guptas‚ on Monday will lay criminal charges if it is found that their emails were hacked.
Click the following links to view the emails.