Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
3 Nov 2016
7:21 am

Gupta influence is only the tip of iceberg – constitutional expert

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Also included in the report are details on the relationship between Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and the Gupta family.

Brian Molefe.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report shows the Gupta family’s influence could be the tip of the iceberg of what could be myriad “improper relationships” between government and private business, according to constitutional expert Shadrack Gutto.

It accuses state power utility Eskom of conducting business dealings to benefit the Gupta-Zuma-owned mining company, Tegeta and Optimum Coal Holdings (OCH).

“In light of the extensive financial analysis conducted, it appears the sole purpose of awarding contracts to Tegeta to supply Arnot Power Station was made solely for the purposes of funding Tegeta and enabling it to purchase all shares in OCH,” the report read.

“The only entity that appears to have benefitted from Eskom’s decisions regarding OCM-OCH was Tegeta, which appears to have been enabled to purchase all shares held in OCH.”

In the report, Madonsela pointed out that Tegeta first approached Eskom in May 2014, six months before the company was awarded a water licence to begin mining coal.

Also included in the report are details of the relationship between Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and the Gupta family – in which 58 phone calls between Molefe and Ajay Gupta were detected between August last year and March 2016. Gutto said the improper influence by the Gupta family on government entities was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what other entities needed to be investigated for their possible influence over government.

“The report is clear there was manipulation of the presidency by one business and one family,” Gutto said. “It shows we should not just look into the Gupta family, but at other powerful economic forces in society.”

Gutto said the Gupta family was one of many forces manipulating the presidency and government because of the corrupt nature of their relationship.

“The new public protector has indicated this is the final report and that it is not going to be changed,” he said.

“In my view, the whole presidency issue should be looked at from a broader perspective in order to deal with the decades of improper influence from the Mandela presidency until now.”