Howa: I look forward to the day SA admires Oakbay

Cape Town - Oakbay Investments will be recognised as a company that South Africa needs, according to Nazeem Howa who resigned as the company's chief executive officer.

Howa, who joined Oakbay in 2010, stepped down on Monday due to health issues.

"It has been a honour and a privilege to lead such a talented group of co-workers," he said in a statement about the company that is owned by the wealthy Gupta family, who is close to President Jacob Zuma.

"In time, Oakbay will be recognised as the type of company South Africa needs: innovative, job-creating, tax paying and law-abiding. I look forward to that day."

Read: Nazeem Howa quits Gupta-owned Oakbay

Oakbay said Ronica Ragavan, the current financial director of Oakbay, will assume the role of acting CEO, while the company searches for a permanent successor.

Howa's resignation comes on the back of founding affidavit that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan submitted to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday. Included in the affidavit was a list of 72 suspicious transactions in which the Gupta family’s company Oakbay was involved.
Several pages of correspondence that had taken place between Howa and Gordhan were also included in the documents submitted to the court, among which a letter of apology for the way in which he came across when asking National Treasury to intervene when the country's four big banks terminated doing business with the company.
“Let me start with our deepest apology and regret if your recent letter to you came across in any way other than a heartfelt appeal for assistance to save the 7 500 jobs within our group …” the letter read.
He continued, saying: “I should offer my sincere apologies to you as it was never our intention to come across with any other message other than a plea to you as political head of the financial sector.”

Oakbay Group attorney Gert van der Merwe, told The New Age in a phone interview on Monday that the group is considering their position regarding further action and possibly opposing Gordhan's application.

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