(Photo: The New Age Board Chairman Atul Gupta and President Jacob Zuma and the First Lady MaNtuli Zuma). President Jacob Zuma at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium for the T20 match between South Africa and India. South Africa. 30/03/2012.
(Photo: The New Age Board Chairman Atul Gupta and President Jacob Zuma and the First Lady MaNtuli Zuma). President Jacob Zuma at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium for the T20 match between South Africa and India. South Africa. 30/03/2012.

The world according to the #Guptas

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 19, 2016

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Johannesburg - A centrespread in their newspaper, the New Age, describing their history has been the Gupta family’s way of explaining away their relationship with the president and accusations of their “robbing the country”, controlling the Department of Mineral Resources, and even their “colonisation” of South Africa.

It comes at a time when the family has apparently enlisted the muscle of the global public relations company Bell Pottinger.

The company, founded by spin master Tim Bell, has been associated with the country for years. It worked with the IFP and later the National Party in the run-up to the first democratic elections.

The Gupta double-page spread, titled “Oakbay Investment Gupta Family - The Inconvenient Truth”, sets out the history of the Gupta’s connection with South Africa, starting with Atul Gupta’s arrival in the country in 1993, the launch of Sahara computers in Bedfordview in 1994, and the relocation of the entire family to the country by 2000.

Detailing the family’s “sectoral presence” in a number of industries, it trumpets the company’s investment in the country - apparently more than R10-billion - and its generating 4 500 jobs and R276-million in corporate taxes.

It sets out “facts” about the family’s Glencore and Denel deals, the supply of coal to Eskom from Tegeta Exploration and Resources (one of the Guptas’s companies) as well as its association with Denel through its engineering concern, VR Laser.

There are flat denials of preferential treatment, controversial relationships and undue influence. The text also says that the family’s interaction with Jacob Zuma began “long before he became president”.

There have been days of treading water and spin for the Gupta family, who have come under intense fire amid allegations of their offering cabinet posts to ANC figures and of their being Zuma’s puppet master. The statement concludes with a patriotic declaration of their commitment to their adopted home.

Saturday Star

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