Gupta ‘kitchen cab­i­net’ rev­e­la­tion comes as a shock

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - BALDWIN NDABA

ANC vet­er­ans and SACP mem­bers were left shocked after hear­ing R40 bil­lion was il­le­gally smug­gled out of the coun­try to Dubai to ben­e­fit the Gup­tas and their as­so­ci­ated com­pa­nies.

The money, al­legedly taken from the bud­gets of state-owned en­ti­ties (SOEs) such as Eskom, SA Air­ways and Transnet, went un­de­tected for five years.

These shock­ing de­tails were re­vealed by a group of aca­demics and mem­bers of the SA Coun­cil of Churches to SACP mem­bers and their lead­ers at the party’s 14th na­tional congress in Boks­burg yes­ter­day.

The rev­e­la­tions came as the SACP grap­pled with the ef­fects of state cap­ture on the coun­try’s econ­omy and jus­tify their call for Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to step down.

Yes­ter­day, the party’s call for him to step down was for­ti­fied, at least among its mem­bers, as aca­demics de­picted the “true state” of state cap­ture in South Africa.

Pro­fes­sor Ivor Chip­kin of Wits Univer­sity told SACP del­e­gates that the part­ner­ship be­tween cer­tain gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and the Gup­tas “be­gan as a po­lit­i­cal project which started in good faith”.

He said in 2009, after Zuma had taken over, the par­ties had ini­tially planned to deal with the chal­lenges of marginalised black peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in the econ­omy.

The par­ties agreed to pro­duce black in­dus­tri­al­ists, but ac­cord­ing to Chip­kin, trou­bles for the coun­try be­gan in 2010 and 2011, when the Gup­tas al­legedly be­came en­tan­gled in pub­lic pro­cure­ment projects which did not meet the re­quire­ments of the law.

Chip­kin said the con­sti­tu­tion and pub­lic pro­cure­ment laws be­came an im­ped­i­ment in their at­tempts to clinch ma­jor gov­ern­ment ten­ders with­out fol­low­ing proper pro­ce­dures.

Ac­cord­ing to Chip­kin, the con­sti­tu­tion and laws be­came a threat to the Gup­tas and as a re­sult there was a “grow­ing as­sault and po­lit­i­cal at­tacks on the Trea­sury”.

“There were also in­creas­ing moves to il­le­gally reshuf­fle the cab­i­net,” Chip­kin added.

He said all this was aimed at in­flu­enc­ing the award­ing of the R51bn ten­der for the pur­chase of lo­co­mo­tives for Transnet.

He later said that a sim­i­lar modus operandi was ex­e­cuted at Eskom.

The power util­ity paid Glen­core R325m an­nu­ally for the pur­chase of low-qual­ity coal from one of its mines. How­ever, this amount in­creased to R7bn an­nu­ally when the Gup­tas took con­trol of the mine, Chip­kin added.

The aca­demics sur­prised SACP del­e­gates when they said that some of cab­i­net de­ci­sions were taken ei­ther at the Gup­tas’ Sax­on­wold, Joburg home, or at a “kitchen cab­i­net”.

“Their de­ci­sion would then be re­ferred to the cab­i­net to be rub­ber stamped.”

Sikhulek­ile Duma, a 22-yearold Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity re­searcher, cor­rob­o­rated Chip­kin’s claims, say­ing that the nu­clear deal was taken by the kitchen cab­i­net and re­ferred to Zuma’s cab­i­net for rub­ber stamp­ing.

Duma said even the high court in the Western Cape found that Par­lia­ment was not con­sulted about the nu­clear deal.

Duma, who ma­tric­u­lated at St David’s Marist Inanda in Sand­ton in 2013, shocked del­e­gates when he told them South Africa was spend­ing R212bn on its SOEs and Eskom con­trolled R74bn of the to­tal amount.

“Eskom of­fi­cials do not need Trea­sury ap­proval and they do busi­ness with whomever they want,” Duma said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.