Answering questions on many thorny matters in the country from members of Parliament on Wednesday, President Jacob Zuma shocked MPs when he slammed the decision of four South African banks to sever ties with the Gupta family.
Airing his viewpoint, Zuma told the National Assembly that the decision was simply “suspicious” and showed that there may have been a collision.
More so, the president argued that severing ties with the Guptas will apparently tell foreign investors that South African banks are not reliable. In essence, Zuma called on the said banks to have a second thought on their decision because “it doesn’t look good”.
To him, the decision of the four banks to act at the same time looks so suspicious and even tells an ordinary man that the decision is not ordinary.
“What will the investors out there think of coming to invest in South Africa if they think the banks can willingly in a manner [cut financial ties]… [It suggests there is] collusion.
To any ordinary person, that is not an ordinary act. It suggests that there is something suspicious. The banks can’t act together in the same manner,” he said.
The decision of the four South African banks to cut business ties with the Gupta turned a political hot potato after Mineral Resources Minister Zwane issued a controversial statement, calling for a judicial review into the bank’s decision.
President Jacob Zuma may have spoken in his capacity as SA’s president but he has been accused of allowing members of the Indian-born Gupta family to wield undue influence in his government.
Gupta brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh (also known as Tony), all in their 40s, relocated to South Africa from India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh in Saharanpur in 1993, just as white minority rule in South Africa was ending.
On whether he and/or his legal team instructed the Minister of Mineral Resources‚ Mr. M J Zwane and the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs‚ Mr. Van Rooyen‚ to lodge applications to interdict the release of the Public Protector’s report‚ entitled the State of Capture, Zuma said he didn’t ask them to do so.
Mr. President insisted that they exercised their constitutional rights on their own accord.