Ministers’ Gupta-banks intervention a worry – DA & EFF


The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have taken a swipe at government’s decision to involve cabinet ministers in finding a solution to the closing of bank accounts belonging Gupta owned Oakbay Investments.

Addressing the media in Cape Town on Thursday, Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe announced that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant and Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane would meet with the CEO’s of First National Bank, ABSA, Nedbank and Standard Bank to determine their reasons for shutting down the accounts.

Earlier this month, the company confirmed that brothers Ajay and Atul Gupta, as well as President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane, had resigned from Oakbay following wide-spread reports that the family had been involved in the selecting and recommendation of ministers to suitable positions in cabinet.

Days later, the country’s four biggest banks, along with auditing firm KPMG and commercial bank Sasfin confirmed the severing of ties with Oakbay.

“The decision by the Minister of Finance, Minister of Labour and the Minister of Mineral Resources to meet with the banks to find a ‘lasting solution’ to the dispute with Oakbay Investments is a mistake,” DA Shadow Minister of Finance David Maynier said.

“This matter is best left to the South African Reserve Bank which is responsible for the regulation of the banking industry in South Africa. The Ministers appear to be intervening, on behalf of the Guptas, in business decisions taken by the banks”.

In a strongly worded reaction, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the announcement is further proof that government has been reduced to an institution defending the “personal and private interests” of President Jacob Zuma”.

“Now that the private interests of [the] Zuma family are directly affected, key cabinet ministers are rerouted to deal with private affairs of the Zupta phenomenon. The basis of such interventions is purely private and was over exaggerated by Gupta appointed minister of mineral resources [minister] Zwane,” Ndlozi said.

“The existing legislation and rules that govern banks and other financial institutions places an obligation on them 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”.