SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande is out to uncover the exact 'capture' role of the Guptas. Picture: Simone Kley
Johannesburg - SACP general secretary and Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande will not rest until he knows how the Guptas usurped control of the government, he says.

In a damning report by several South African academics, it emerged that major policy and financial decisions, as well as business deals affecting governance in the country, were taken over by outsiders. It said most of the affected ANC cabinet ministers’ role was just to “rubber-stamp”.

According to them, these included the nuclear deal, which was set aside by the Western Cape High Court recently.

In their report, there was an increasing outflow of cash worth billions to Dubai, allegedly in favour of the Guptas and their associations.

All these prompted Nzimande to come out in support of ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s call that South African law-enforcement agencies must probe the latest revelations of state capture and prosecute the culprits. Ramaphosa also urged the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Hawks and SAPS to implement plans to recover billions of rand looted from the public purse.

Nzimande said: “I wish the SACP would also support the call to recover the billions of rand. Our students in tertiary institutions do not have enough money to pursue their studies, while cash was illegally leaving our own country to serve private interests outside our borders. That is to undermine our national sovereignty.”

Last year student protests erupted at institutions of higher learning under the #FeesMustFall movement. Some of the protests were violent, with students setting some of the university buildings on fire, causing damage estimated at more than R1 billion.

As these were unfolding, the report, “Betrayal of Promise - How South Africa is being Stolen”, uncovered that at least R40bn had been smuggled out of the country to Dubai to benefit the Guptas and their associates.

This came as Nzimande’s party members were demanding that President Jacob Zuma step down as president of South Africa after he was implicated in acts of wrongdoing by former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.

Due to the damning report, pressure mounted on Nzimande to break his silence on the alleged looting of public purse by the Guptas. During his party’s 14th national congress this week, Nzimande assured his supporters that his relationship with Zuma had broken down irreparably due to the Guptas’ influence on the incumbent.

In an exclusive interview with Independent Media on Friday, Nzimande commended the academics’ report. This comes after Professor Ivor Chipkin, of Wits University, and Sikhulekile Duma, of Stellenbosch University, told SACP members at their national congress that important decisions about their country were not taken by their own elected officials from SACP and ANC.

According to them, there was an operational “kitchen cabinet” outside Parliament and the Union Buildings, which made decisions.

Nzimande said: “We hope more South African academics can come on board to not only do research on issues like state capture. They should also do research on multiple issues and studies to help the country.”

He said he was also doing his part by trying to find out “what made the country arrive at this stage”.

In his analogy, Nzimande said “state capture by the Guptas” was already known; it was the extent of it that his party and other interested parties were grappling with.

“It is for this reason that the communist party was the first organisation to call for a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.”

He also expressed dismay that more than R40bn was able to leave the shores of South Africa through “illicit business dealings” as his department was battling to support struggling students in tertiary institutions. “It is a shame,” he said.

Nzimande said the SACP’s call for Zuma to step down was not only made on public platforms or at rallies, but had also been communicated to him.

With the SACP expected to reveal its plans to bring to an end state capture today, Nzimande said he hoped members would support a call by Cosatu for a strike against state capture.