Gupta brothers, Ajay and Atul. FILE PHOTO
Durban - Attempts to save eight Gupta companies have hit a snag after the Industrial Development Corporation has brought an application for the removal of two business rescue practitioners dealing with the companies.

On Tuesday, the IDC lodged an urgent application to have Louis Klopper and Kurt Knoop removed as business rescue practitioners presiding over the placing of Shiva Uranium Mine under business rescue and its potential sale.

The Pretoria High Court is now due to set a new date for the hearing and to allow the presiding judge to read the contents of the application and for the new parties to file their papers.

Klopper and Knoop have been accused of operating from the same offices of the Guptas lawyer Smit Sewgoolam in KwaZulu-Natal.

However, both Klopper and Knoop have denied any wrongdoing.

IDC spokesperson Zama Luthuli said: “We are of the view that the business rescue practitioners are neither objective nor independent. They have failed to effectively take over the mine so that it can have a fair chance of being rescued,” Luthuli said.

Last month, a similar application was launched against the two, by Andile Qaku of Deriko Mining and Exploration, who argued in his affidavit that Klopper and Knoop had close business ties with the Guptas and should not be involved in the rescuing and selling of Optimum Coal Mine.

The IDC’s move came as Parliament finally summonsed the Guptas and former President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma to testify in the ­inquiry into state capture. They now face arrest if they don’t comply.

The inquiry is likely to hear the evidence of former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni after she received the summons, but still wanted to engage the chairperson of the inquiry Zukiswa Rantho.

Rantho said yesterday that it had been hard to find the Guptas, and she still wanted them to testify in Parliament.

This followed reports by South African businessman Justin van Pletzen that he had bumped into Ajay Gupta in Dubai two weeks ago.

Rantho said she had been informed by Parliament’s legal team that a summons had been served on Myeni. However, no date has been set for her to ­testify. The sheriff could not find Duduzane and the Guptas.

“I am waiting for the response from the legal team to see what steps are going to be taken,” said Rantho.

She said the Hawks and other law enforcement agencies had been asked to locate the family and Duduzane to serve summonses on them.

Parliament would like to conclude the inquiry by June.

The Mercury