SACP sceptical of Gupta family plan to sell SA shares

Ajay and Atul Gupta. (Muntu Vilakazi, City Press)
Ajay and Atul Gupta. (Muntu Vilakazi, City Press)

Cape Town – The South African Communist Party (SACP) has expressed scepticism at news of the Gupta family’s stated intention of selling off their South African interests.

The SACP said on Sunday there was a strong possibility the Guptas simply intended to sell their South African interests to themselves through their foreign-based investment venture capital operations.

The Gupta family on Saturday said they would sell their South African shareholdings by the end of the year.

The family said their exit from South Africa businesses would benefit existing employees and lead to further growth.

"We believe that this decision is in the best interests of our business, the country and our colleagues," the family said.

In a statement on Sunday, following a three-day meeting, the SACP questioned the timing of the decision.

Great deal of scepticism

"Frankly, we treat this announcement with a great deal of scepticism. It comes at a time when Gupta companies are reportedly under increasing scrutiny from the Reserve Bank, treasury and the Financial Intelligence Centre," the Tripartite Alliance partner said.

The SACP expressed doubt there would be much appetite for buying the shares, given “the over-valued and under-traded nature of Gupta-linked JSE interests”.

They called on the Financial Intelligence Centre to ensure that if any sales were effected, the Gupta family or close relatives were not the beneficial owners of the sale.

"We trust that the Reserve Bank, before approving any sale from a resident to a non-resident, will ensure that there is full legal compliance with capital export requirements," the SACP said.

The party also called for all financial regulatory entities to ensure that money was retained in South Africa in a blocked account so that any potential penalties and liabilities were covered “should further information emerge in regard to the wrecking-ball activities of the Guptas and their associates".

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