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Cope calls on ministers to defy Oakbay instruction

TMG Digital | 2016-04-22 10:29:37.0
Cope’s Dennis Bloem. File photo
Image by: Ambrose Peters/ Sunday Times

The Congress of the People (Cope) on Friday called for Pravin Gordhan‚ Mildred Oliphant and Mosebenzi Zwane “to defy the instruction” to intervene in the impasse between the Gutpa-associated Oakbay Investments and banks.

Saying it was “unheard of for cabinet ministers to become directly involved in a dispute between banks and a private company”‚ Cope’s Dennis Bloem asked: “What more evidence do we need that the Gupta family controls the government?”

The decision – announced by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe on Thursday - to appoint the ministers of finance‚ labour and mineral resources “to intervene on behalf of the Guptas with the four banks that have withdrawn their support to Oakbay is unprecedented”.

“While Zandspruit and many other townships around the country are in flames‚ because of a lack of service delivery‚ (President Jacob) Zuma rushes to the help of his bosses and neglects South Africans who are crying out for assistance‚” he said.

“Instead of sending his minister to listen to the people who are crying out for help‚ Zuma has other priorities for them. The fact that his son is an affected party makes cabinet’s decision unpalatable‚” said Bloem.

He added that it was not a surprise “because many of the ministers who are sitting in the cabinet do so thanks to the intervention of the Gupta family”. “Cope calls upon ministers Gordhan‚ Oliphant and Zwane to defy this instruction. Let Oakbay seek judicial intervention or approach other banks‚” said Bloem.

“The most that government should do‚ in the interest of affected workers‚ is to publicly call on the four banks to review their decision now that Oakbay has a new auditor.”

Earlier on Friday‚ the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said the decision amounted to “key cabinet ministers” having been “rerouted to deal with private affairs of the Zupta phenomenon”.

“What this means is that the South African government has deployed its ministers to go and resolve private business problems of the Gupta family‚ a family whom Mr Zuma has confirmed are his friends‚ a family whose companies are partly owned by the Zuma family‚ a family who are embroiled in many scandalous activities‚ a family who finances Mr Zuma's wife’s house and other necessities‚” said the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

“The South African government is being reduced into a personal fiefdom where a president reduces institutions of the state and cabinet ministers into defending his personal and private interests."

He said that the banks’ decisions to not deal with Gupta-related companies “should be welcomed” if it came from their choice “to disassociate from and report all forms of financial crimes and impropriety by their customers”.

“The EFF rejects cabinet's narrow intervention into private affairs of the Gupta family and instead calls for strengthening of laws that deal with financial crimes‚” he said.

“All banks‚ audit firms‚ and other financial institutions must play a central role in combating all forms of financial crimes.”

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