Gupta mine workers march on banks

19 September 2017 - 11:08 By Kyle Cowan
Atul Gupta. File photo.
Atul Gupta. File photo.
Image: Robert Tshabalala

Mine workers employed by Gupta-owned mines in Mpumalanga and the North West are marching on banks in various towns to protest the closure of company bank accounts.

Gupta-linked news channel ANN7 reported on Tuesday morning that thousands were expected to march in Hartbeesfontein‚ Klerksdorp‚ Delmas‚ Hendrina and Middelburg.

According to the news broadcaster‚ mining communities are saying the banks must not let ordinary workers and their families suffer because of their own “political agendas”.

A man‚ who the news channel does not identify‚ says the communities are giving the banks seven days to respond to their demands.

“Brakfontein mine employs just over 400 people‚” he said. “The demands are very clear here. We are converging as community members and workers of that mine ... At the end of this month the last bank is to shut down their [Gupta family’s] accounts with Shiva [Uranium mine in Klerksdorp]‚ we are obviously going to have 400 people unemployed‚” the man said.

The Bank of Baroda is the only remaining bank in South Africa that still has active bank accounts with Gupta family businesses‚ after the so-called big four‚ Standard Bank‚ FNB‚ ABSA and Nedbank‚ closed the family’s facilities last year.

The Guptas launched an urgent court application for an interim interdict in the Pretoria High Court last month in an attempt to stop the closure of the accounts.

However‚ it emerged in court papers that the employees of more than 20 Gupta businesses still operating have always been paid via an agent and salaries were never distributed from the Baroda accounts.

Legal counsel for Baroda argued that the money for salaries can easily be paid from an overseas bank.

ANN7 broadcast live images of its reporters in front of ABSA bank in Delmas‚ cutting to shots of a relatively small group of protesters dancing and singing outside the bank.

This is a developing story.