Corporate SA turns back on Guptas
JOHANNESBURG — Three South African companies, including KPMG and Barclays Africa, have severed ties with a firm owned by the Guptas, a family of Indian-born businessmen, due to concerns over their relationship with President Jacob Zuma.
The third was investment bank Sasfin, which said it had decided to cut links with Gupta mining firm Oakbay Resources and Energy in March, two days after a newspaper suggested they may have had a hand in Zuma’s sacking of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December.
Sasfin’s relationship with Oakbay will formally end on June 1, a Sasfin spokeswoman said. The decision had not previously been made public.
Zuma has denied numerous allegations of the Guptas wielding undue influence. The Guptas have also routinely dismissed reports of their influence, saying they are pawns in a political plot to get Zuma out of office.
After the newspaper report last month, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said the Guptas had offered him the top job at the Treasury before Zuma fired Nene. The Guptas also denied that allegation.
In an email to KPMG staff seen by Reuters, local chief executive Trevor Hoole said he had decided to stop auditing Oakbay after consulting regulators, clients and KPMG’S internal risk departments.
“I can assure you that this decision was not taken lightly but in our view the association risk is too great for us to continue,” Hoole said in the email.
“There will clearly be financial and potentially other consequences to this, but we view them as justifiable.”
Oakbay confirmed the end of the 15-year relationship and said it un-