Oakbay caught in middle of Zuma 'political war' - CEO

2016-04-09 14:01
Oakbay chair Atul Gupta and President Jacob Zuma at a Protea vs India T20 cricket match in Johannesburg in 2012. (Photo: GCIS)

Oakbay chair Atul Gupta and President Jacob Zuma at a Protea vs India T20 cricket match in Johannesburg in 2012. (Photo: GCIS)

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Johannesburg - Oakbay Investments believes that it has been caught up in a political storm over President Jacob Zuma and has done nothing to deserve its current circumstances.

"I think it's not about the Gupta family. I think it's about the president," said Oakbay Investments chief executive, Nazeem Howa in an interview with CNN.

"I think we have just been caught up in a political war around the future of the presidency. That's my own reading of it. Certainly I don't believe we have done anything," he said.

The company revealed this week that it may have difficulty in paying the salaries of around 4 500 of its staff after the company's auditor KPMG, its banks FNB and Absa and sponsor Sasfin Capital cut ties with the Guptas in March.

The Gupta family owned the company.

Increasing pressure

WATCH: Guptas hit back at banks on CNN

On Friday however, the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane Zuma announced their resignation from Oakbay Investments and Oakbay Resources and Energy [JSE:ORL].

Ajay and Atul Gupta were the co-chairs of Oakbay Investments, while Atul chaired Oakbay Resources and Energy. Varun Gupta was the CEO of Oakbay Resources and Energy and Duduzane Zuma was a director of Shiva Uranium.

The Gupta family has come under increasing pressure following allegations that they influenced President Jacob Zuma's appointment of Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and former finance minister Des van Rooyen, as well as offering ministerial posts to deputy finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor.

The allegations are that in return for these positions, these ministers would ensure the Guptas received government business and contracts, resulting in "state capture".

Howa, however, said Oakbay Investments had never engaged in such activities.

"I don't think we have claimed to have any special relationship with the president or any other politicians,"  he said.

"Like any other business, we have relationships with business people, government people, anybody else. All are transparent relationships, arms-length relationships. There's been nothing untoward in any one of those. Given our very good judiciary, if we did do something wrong, we would be in a court of law right now."

Read more on:    oakbay investments  |  jacob zuma  |  politics

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