Shocking exposés -- but no reaction
LAST Sunday we brought you the first instalment of our ongoing coverage of what is shaping up to be the biggest story of recent times. Since then our reporters have worked tirelessly piecing together bits of information contained in leaked e-mails from the Gupta family, to produce content that proves conclusively that the Gupta family, friends of President Jacob Zuma, have taken over the running of the country.
For years, as the media in this country, we have written extensively on the influence the family have over government departments, boards of state-owned enterprises and even the ANC itself.
We mostly relied on our sources for this information as we did not have any conclusive proof. That proof finally landed on our desks last weekend — an external hard drive containing between 100 000 and 200 000 e-mails from Gupta family members, associates, government employees, politicians and prominent South Africans.
Spending the week mining the 87GB of data has been painful. The e-mails chronicle a sorry saga of how our country is being stolen right in front of our eyes.
At the heart of this capture is Zuma, his son Duduzane and the three Gupta brothers, Ajay, Atul and Tony. They have infiltrated every sphere of government. They run our parastatals. They appoint executives and board members. They have a direct hotline to ministers and MPs. Last week we told how the e-mails exposed a minister who leaked sensitive government documents to the family before the cabinet had discussed the issue.
The capture of our state does not stop with our cabinet. In this edition is a story about Iqbal Sharma, a board member at Transnet. The e-mails reveal how he shared confidential board committee documents with the Guptas ahead of crucial board meetings.
It is the family’s proximity to Zuma that has emboldened them. Since Zuma ascended to the highest office in the land, the family and their associates, including Duduzane, have amassed a fortune. Their wealth is now counted in billions of rands. From just one contract they stand to walk away with just over R5-billion. The e-mails show that Gupta associate Salim Essa, through an offshore company, received 20% of a R25-billion contract awarded to Chinese rolling stock manufacturer China South Rail. All he did was to “assist” it to win a portion of Transnet’s multibillion-rand tender for locomotives.
We have reason to believe that billions of rands have already left the country. Today we report that, in just 10 months in 2015, they moved about R500-million into offshore accounts.
So why have we decided to tell you all this? The answer is simple. We want to make you angry. We want to move you to action. We want you to question why, after a week of reporting this scandal, not even one person has been called in, even if it is for questioning, by law-enforcement agencies. Had this been anywhere else in the world, someone would have stepped down or been fired or arrested by now.
The question is why.