Opinion

Maybe after a few years in cosy prison cells the Guptas might tell us how they pulled off the theft of a country

23 July 2017 - 00:08

Atul Gupta is "a force for positive change in South Africa". So says his blush-toned, Zen-inspired website "atulgupta.co.za" that applauds the contributions the family has made towards "social mobility" in the country.
It does not say whose mobility they contributed to but evidence certainly points to a cohort of state officials, whom the Guptas have turned into dancing minions who travel between Dubai and South Africa courtesy of the family.
The five-star Oberoi hotel in Dubai appears to have served as the location for the Guptas' version of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel — but starring shady South African politicians and officials rather than geriatric British holidaymakers.
We now know that Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh, who was the midwife in the dodgy Tegeta-Optimum deal, was a regular guest at the Oberoi on the Guptas' tab.
Evidence in the Gupta e-mails shows Singh stayed at the hotel at least three times in 2014 while he was chief financial officer of Transnet and the process of awarding a R1.8-billion tender to Neotel was under way. A Gupta company got a sweet R36-million kickback from the deal.Or perhaps by then somebody else might be in that job — someone who understands that the role of the country's top prosecutor is to indict lawbreakers rather than being a political hitman.
With so much evidence of state capture now in the public domain, the Guptas have not tried too hard to counter the allegations or deny that they have been perpetrating corruption on a grand scale.
Family spokesman Gary Naidoo told the BBC this week that there was a "smear campaign" against the Guptas.

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