Gupta raids boost Ramaphosa's reputation as a crimefighter - Silke

Cape Town - Raids on Wednesday morning that resulted in three arrests of people allegedly connected to the Gupta family will serve to burnish Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reputation as a corruption buster, according to political analyst Daniel Silke. 

“The raids will add impetus to the messages conveyed by Cyril Ramaphosa at Davos and in his interaction with foreign and domestic investors that he is serious about rooting out the rot and forging a new path,” he said. 

They constitute “important signals that South Africa is looking at positive change in governance and is therefore again a credible country in which business can operate”. 

“In the short term, while the law will take its course, these are sentiment-building optics that provide an important parallel to the still unresolved political impasse," said Silke. "But investors will take these signs as an indication of what is to come and will look favourably on the country, even as it grapples with a very messy and protracted leadership transition.”

Silke was speaking after priority crime investigation unit the Hawks carried out a number of raids on Wednesday morning, reportedly arresting a Gupta brother.

The Gupta family has for years been accused of wielding influence in the decision making process of Jacob Zuma’s Presidency to clinch sweetheart deals, and even decide on Cabinet appointees. They are friends, and business associates, of Zuma's son Duduzane.  

The Guptas have denied any wrongdoing. 

The name of the Gupta brother allegedly arrested has not officially been made public by authorities, but according to City Press it is Ajay Gupta.

As News24 reported, the arrested brother is set to appear in court alongside former Free State agriculture department head Peter Thabethe. 

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi on Wednesday morning confirmed the unit was conducting “ongoing operations at various addresses in Gauteng, including a (sic) residential premises in Saxonwold near Johannesburg”.

“The operation is in respect of the Vrede farm investigations. So far three people have been arrested and two other suspects are expected to hand themselves over to the Hawks,” he said.  

Making good

Silke said the raids backed up the fighting words of Ramaphosa who, while leading South Africa's delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, told foreign investors that SA was serious about tackling graft. 

“Cleaning up clearly is going to be quite a mammoth task, but we have to start somewhere,” Ramaphosa said in an interview with Bloomberg in late January. “Our people are clamouring for a clean government, and that is what we are going to give them.”

Wichard Cilliers, a currency dealer at TreasuryONE, said reports that the Hawks had carried out the raids continue "to send out the signal that SA Inc is on the right path to really fight corruption".

According to a report by Reuters, police on Wednesday morning also visited the offices of Oakbay in Sandton. Citing a “security guard outside the building”, it said officials briefly spent time in the building. Fin24 could not independently confirm this.  

Oakbay did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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