Patel: I declined several invites from the Guptas

Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel. Picture: Leon Sadiki
Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel. Picture: Leon Sadiki

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has said he declined several invitations from the Gupta family, including one to the now-infamous wedding at Sun City in 2013.

In a written reply to a question from Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Michael Bagraim, Patel clarified that neither he nor employees of his department were influenced nor took instructions from the Gupta family or their associates.

He also said that during president Jacob Zuma's administration (between 2009 and 2014) he had attended meetings and public official functions where members of the Gupta family were present, and that members of the Gupta family had engaged with him, as with other attendees.

Beyond these public events, however, Patel said that he declined several other invitations to meet with the Guptas.

"In approximately late 2011, my office received a request from a member of the Gupta family to meet with me.

"As no information was provided to warrant a meeting with me, I declined the request and directed my office to refer them to meet with one of my officials instead, as is standard practice with many requests by business people for bilateral meetings," he said.

But the Guptas did not take up this offer, and they made no further effort to take up Patel's request.

Patel said he also declined personal invitations to celebrate Diwali, "on more than one occasion".

"In addition, sometime in early 2013 I received an invitation to attend a wedding involving relatives of the Gupta family in Sun City, which ... I declined."

Patel also said that the former president's son, Duduzane Zuma, had introduced himself to Patel at his parliamentary offices on the day of the State of the Nation Address in February 2010.

"No specific request was made by him at the meeting, nor does my office have any record of a request for a follow-up meeting," Patel said.

In September this year, Patel provided an update on a R250m loan granted by the Industrial Development Corporation, an entity of his department's portfolio, to Gupta-linked Shiva Uranium. The IDC is in the process of recovering its payment, and Shiva Uranium has since filed for business rescue.

The IDC has instituted a litigation process to recover the owed amounts, Fin24 previously reported

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