Former Madiba bodyguard keeps Gupta family members safe

Ajay and Atul Gupta. Picture: Muntu Vilakazi
Ajay and Atul Gupta. Picture: Muntu Vilakazi

A security company belonging to one of former president Nelson Mandela’s former bodyguards is still guarding members of the extended Gupta family.

However, Rory Steyn, director of Nicholls Steyn and Associates, told City Press’ sister paper Rapport on Wednesday that he had not met Atul, Ajay or Rajesh Gupta.

When the Guptas approached the courts last year for a protection order against people who were protesting outside their home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, they argued that 21 family members were staying at the compound.

At the time, this included a 15-day-old baby.

“One of our group companies, NSA Vulindlela, has a contract with Confident Concepts, a Gupta company, to provide specific protection for the family’s children and female members,” said Steyn.

“We were approached because there was a real threat of violence against the vulnerable members of the families. We have not seen it as contrary to our ethics as the children are innocent parties.”

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi has asked security companies not to help the family escape justice.

The contract with Confident Concepts will expire in June. Confident Concepts, however, is one of a group of companies that applied to the Registrar of Companies to be placed under business rescue this week.

Rapport reliably learnt that Confident Concepts’ payments to NSA Vulindlela have been in arrears for some time, which could mean that the contract may be suspended.

According to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, Confident Concepts is one of two holding companies in the Gupta empire that own property worth more than R175 million.

Former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane’s Porsche was also registered under the entity of Confident Concepts.

Steyn said his co-director, Jaishankar Ramchandran, had shares in two Gupta companies at some stage.

One of them was JIC Mining Services, in which Ramchandran was a minority shareholder.

According to Ramchandran, he was involved in JIC when Tokyo Sexwale still owned it. He sold all his shares in JIC in 2009.

He facilitated the transaction when Ajay Gupta bought the luxury Clifftop game farm in Lephalale in Limpopo and became a director.

The Guptas entered into a R43.8 million loan agreement with the State Bank of India with Clifftop as security, but the farm is only worth about R12 million.

This farm is now one of the assets in question in the business rescue application.

According to Ramchandran, he sold his shares in Clifftop after he had an argument with Ajay Gupta in 2009 about his management style.

Ramchandran established himself as a businessman in South Africa in 1998.

According to Steyn, all his staff had been instructed to cooperate with the police at all times by handing over any sought-after members of the Gupta family.

“We have always acted to the letter of the law and will under no circumstances deviate from it.”

Idol Protection Services, owned by Herman Steyn, supplies bodyguards to the three Gupta brothers. They have no business or family ties with Rory Steyn.

Herman Steyn told Rapport this week: “I do not talk to journalists,” after which he put down the phone.

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