Guptas fight back

2011-03-01 17:48

Johannesburg - Trade federation Cosatu has received a file from the Gupta family which provides details of all their companies.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Cosatu said that it had earlier met with Ajay Gupta, Duduzane Zuma, the son of President Jacob Zuma, and Gupta family representative Jagdish Parekh at the Guptas' request.

This was in response to the Cosatu central executive committee's call for research into allegations concerning their companies and their relationship with the government.

Cosatu said it would study the file and appoint a person to follow up whatever information may be necessary.

"The Guptas have offered to cooperate with the Cosatu investigation and are prepared to open their books and their bank balances to the probe."

Cosatu said the family claimed that they had never taken "a single cent" from government, never tendered or won a government tender, never received any mining licence and never received a single cent from the PIC (Public Investment Corporation).

"They state that the allegation that Brian Molefe's contract was extended for three months in order to borrow money from their company or facilitate a deal is not true.

"Yes, they are friends of Brian Molefe but they never influenced his appointment to Transnet as the CEO."

Cosatu added that the family agreed they were a business partner with Lazarus Zim but that they in fact tried to convince him not to take up the position at Telkom, fearing they would be blamed for influencing the decision.

Further, the family told the union federation that they only had a memorandum of understanding with an Indian company to explore the possibility of opening a steel company; the story that they stood to benefit by R23bn was not true.

Similarly there was only a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese company - the Chinese Rail Commuter Corporation. The story that they stood to benefit from a R500m investment was not true.

"Both the Indian and Chinese companies are likely to withdraw from SA due to the negative publicity," Cosatu said.

The ArcelorMittal deal had still to be presented to the shareholders, and the likelihood was that the deal would not go through.

"They have never ever asked the president to open doors for them in any way.

"On the contrary they are being harassed and cannot get a loan from any bank. The IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) regard them as PEP (politically exposed persons) and want to slap them with a 10% surcharge."

The meeting with Cosatu followed the appearance earlier by 28-year-old Duduzane Zuma and Parekh on Talk Radio 702.

It is known that Zuma is a director in several businesses owned by the Gupta family.

During the radio interview, the president's son dismissed allegations of cronyism.

"If you think we have done something wrong, then please come forward; if we have done something wrong, then drag us by our shirt collars before a court of law.

"If not, then leave us the hell alone and let us do our business," he told the radio station.

He claimed he was in introduced to the Guptas by his father some years ago.

"These are my partners. They are my family members."

Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  duduzane zuma  |  gupta brothers
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