Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
29 Jul 2017
6:00 am

State capture likely to continue if Zuma faction wins – economist

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The financial sector has exerted pressure on the state to curb the Guptas’ influence on state-owned entities, but it could be easily undone.

President Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma during the national Women's Day celebrations at the Union Buildings on August 09, 2016 in Pretoria. Picture: Gallo Images

South Africa’s financial sector seems to be leading the fight against alleged state capture by the Gupta family, according to an expert, but supporters of President Jacob Zuma and the pro-Zuma faction in the ANC could undo all these efforts at the party’s elective conference in December.

Eskom CFO Anoj Singh, who has been linked to alleged dodgy Gupta-linked transactions, was put on precautionary suspension this week pending the results of a forensic investigation.

The move was reportedly sparked by pressure from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) which, according to The Times, threatened to recall a R15 billion loan if Eskom did not act against Singh after Eskom’s latest financial results confirmed irregular expenditure of R3 billion.

Economist Dr Sean Muller said banks and the financial sector were subtly, but effectively, exerting pressure on the state to curb the Guptas’ influence on state-owned entities.

“For example, Sygnia Capital indicating it was ending its relationship with KPMG and making statements about their association with the Gupta family; similarly, the suspension of Singh being linked to the DBSA and the loan agreements it had with Eskom.”

The Democratic Alliance has filed criminal charges against Singh for allegedly flouting the Public Finance Management Act in relation to, among others, his authorising of a R30 million pension payout to former CEO Brian Molefe and an unexplained R495 million payment to the Gupta-associated firm Trillian Capital Partners.

Lobby group Outa yesterday laid charges of fraud, extortion, corruption and high treason against public enterprises director-general Mogokare Richard Seleke after leaked e-mails indicated he sent Ashu Chawla, chief executive of the Guptas’ Sahara Computers in 2015, a spreadsheet showing how the Gupta empire would get hundreds of millions of US dollars for brokering Transnet’s locomotive deal with China South Railways.

But none of this may prove enough to have a lasting effect, Muller said.

“The problem is the pro-Zuma or pro-Gupta faction in the ANC could win the elective conference in December and that could roll all of this back. They could again put their MPs in strategic committees in parliament and reappoint their directors to SOEs.” –