Gupta ‘kitchen cabinet’ revelation comes as a shock
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.