Gupta family win court interdict against EFF‚ Julius Malema
The Gupta family‚ Oakbay Investments‚ The New Age‚ ANN7 and other of the family's subsidiary companies were on Tuesday granted an interdict by the Gauteng North High Court against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its leader Julius Malema.
The applicants asked the court for relief in view of the inflammatory statements issued by the EFF with their implicit threat of violence to the staff and property of Oakbay Investments subsidiary companies and the Gupta family.
In the main affidavit‚ CEO of Oakbay Investments Nazeem Howa said he and the applicants had a "substantial interest in having the freedom" to exercise their constitutionally entrenched right to participate in the commerce and trade of the republic and were entitled to continue tom do so despite the threats issued by the EFF.
The court ruled in favour of the applicants upholding their rights and those of the Gupta family as South African citizens to remain in South Africa and carry out business operations.
Howa made reference to the statements of Malema last week who at a press conference stated that the safety of the journalists working for The New Age and 24-hour news channel ANN7 could not be guaranteed at EFF events and further adding that the Guptas should leave South Africa.
Malema also referred to a letter written to the leadership of the EFF requesting explanation and withdrawal of the statements made by Malema and its Gauteng regional spokesperson who further threatened that "the Guptas must heed the call of EFF leader Julius Malema to vacate South Africa... otherwise‚ the predictability of what could happen to them and any of their properties‚ becomes a highly volatile matter. No one can guarantee their safety in this Gauteng".
Howa said the statements contained an "unequivocal and clear message" that the EFF intended to use their members and resources to disrupt the businesses of the applicants and would stop by "no means to violently prevent the applicants from conducting their businesses on a day to day basis.
"Not only are these threats imminent and calling on violence but it further infringes on the constitutional rights of the applicants‚" Howa said.
He said it was obvious from all the statements and correspondence that the EFF refused to withdraw any of the comments and threats of "imminent violence".
"They rely on unfounded and slanderous allegations in order to incite violence. They convinced their supporters that the applicants are fraudsters and criminals without one single shred of evidence‚" Howa said.
"We are left with no choice but to approach this court for the relief sought‚ namely an interdict to protect our assets‚ business‚ employees and their families‚" Howa said.
Judge Willem Louw agreed and granted the interdict based on all the conditions requested by the plaintiffs.
Atul Gupta‚ speaking on behalf of the Gupta family‚ said: “The Guptas have been in South Africa since 1993 and are a proudly South African family. Some of the family’s children were born and raised in South Africa. Oakbay Investments employs more than 4500 people in South Africa‚ and growing‚ and reinvests all profits in the country. The Gupta family will continue to invest in South Africa‚ promote South Africa and create jobs for South Africans.”
Moegsien Williams‚ Editor-in-Chief of The New Age newspaper‚ said: “Our employees have the right to go to work and do their jobs without the threat of violence. We welcome today’s ruling and hope that the EFF will cease its threats and intimidation of our staff immediately.”