Ajay Gupta and the art of blatant arrogance
Revelations in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report point to Ajay Gupta’s overbearing stance in his determination to get what he wanted from state officials. Here are a few examples:
“I will talk to your seniors in government and you will be sorted out,” Ajay Gupta allegedly told Themba Maseko, the former chief executive of the Government Communication and Information System, on the phone.
The rebuke occurred soon after Maseko met with two of the Gupta brothers, including Ajay, to ensure government advertising would be channelled to The New Age newspaper, the Guptas’ new venture. When Maseko told Ajay at the meeting that he did not control the entire advertising budget, Ajay brushed the objection aside.
And, in his interview with Madonsela, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said there were “no pleasantries” when he met with the Guptas. Ajay got down to business, telling him Treasury was a “stumbling block” to his interests and adding, with apparent confidence, that he could make Jonas the finance minister. Ajay also told Jonas the Guptas’ had intelligence on him – alluding to Jonas’ alleged close ties with ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize.
Present at the meeting were its two initiators, the president’s son Duduzane Zuma and businessman Fana Hlongwane. However, the report says, neither said a word, leaving all the talking to Ajay.
OUTSPOKEN Ajay (left) and Atul Gupta