Why the Guptas and Zuma's son really quit Oakbay - DA

Cape Town – The Guptas and Duduzane Zuma resigned from Oakbay Investments and Oakbay Resources and Energy on Friday to facilitate the sale of the Optimum coal mine from Glencore to Oakbay, the Democratic Alliance (DA) claimed.

HOW IT STARTED: Guptas and Duduzane Zuma resign from Oakbay

Their resignation “is an insult to the intelligence of the people of South Africa … to claim that they have done this for their employees,” James Lorimer, DA shadow minister of mineral resources, said in a statement on Friday.

“It is an exercise in smoke and mirrors to protect their assets and profits; nothing more,” he said.

RELATED: Secret Asian bank backs Guptas as another bites the dust

“A number of questions have already been raised about political influence in the Optimum deal and the extent to which the Guptas have used political connections to facilitate the transaction,” he said. “Tainted by charges of corruption, the sale may have been in jeopardy with them at the helm.”

Lorimer revealed that Investec, Rand Merchant Bank and Nedbank hold R2.7bn in Optimum’s debt.

“One can therefore only suspect that the deal would not have been approved while politically exposed individuals are directors of Oakbay,” he said. “This raises questions as to whether the banks themselves pressured the Guptas and Zuma to step down.”

On Friday, the banks in charge of Glencore’s debt voted for the sale to go through, Bloomberg reported.

RELATED: Guptas influence over Oakbay still a concern

“The creditors got the requisite majority,” Piers Marsden, who has been managing the so-called business-rescue process since Glencore sought bankruptcy protection for Optimum in August, told Bloomberg on Friday.

Reports revealed some individuals hold board positions on both Oakbay and Eskom, which raised the question of state capture, an allegation where the Gupta family uses its friendship with President Jacob Zuma and his political network to influence certain business deals.

The African National Congress is investigating the allegations, while Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has approach Treasury for funding to investigate the claim.

RELATED: Guptas quit as company can’t pay staff without banks - letter

Lorimer highlighted that the Guptas will remain shareholders of the company and “continue to  profit from lucrative Eskom tenders secured by Optimum”.

“They will also, no doubt, be replaced by puppet directors who will do anything at their bidding.”

Board member Terence Rensen will become Oakbay Resources chairperson, while finance director Trevor Scott will become Oakbay Resources acting CEO until a new candidate is selected to fill the vacant positions, the company said.

RELATED: Guptas take on FNB CEO Jacques Celliers

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Government tenders

Find public sector tender opportunities in South Africa here.

Government tenders
This portal provides access to information on all tenders made by all public sector organisations in all spheres of government.
Browse tenders