Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
29 Aug 2017
2:01 pm

Manyi says racism case against Guptas is ‘speculation’

Gosebo Mathope

The Kathrada Foundation wants the ANC to act as strongly against Tony Gupta as it did against Penny Sparrow.

Outside the Gupta Family compound, 11 April 2016, in Saxonwold, Johannesburg. Picture: Alaister Russell

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has formally written to the ANC to ask it to lead a process, or join them, to lodge a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) over an alleged racism tirade from a Gupta brother.

In an incident documented in the leaked Gupta emails, Rajesh “Tony” Gupta was reported as having subjected G4S security guards deployed to protect his family’s luxury Saxonwold compound to a racist tirade.

He is said to have referred to them as “monkeys” in an altercation that took place in October 2012 after the guards failed to follow his orders to prepare for guests – in all likelihood government ministers.

When contacted, Jimmy Manyi, the Lodidox sole director who recently purchased two Gupta-owned media companies for R450 million in a “vendor financing” deal that technically means he didn’t have to pop a cent for the deal, vehemently defended his benefactors when asked to comment.

“In principle I don’t respond to speculation. There is no evidence that the Gupta brothers ever called black employees monkeys and baboons. This country is where it is with all our problems because media reports about speculation. Like you now, you are not honest, you did not see these emails that you are asking me about,” an annoyed Manyi said.

The thread of the email correspondence shows Atul was notified of a “quite serious” problem with one of the guards who allegedly wanted to drive rather than guard the main gates and did not pay attention to his work.

The foundation has confirmed to The Citizen that it sent a letter to the ANC a week ago appealing to secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to take up the complaint against the Gupta brother for allegedly “referring to his employees as monkeys and causing them much distress”.

READ MORE: Leaked emails allege Tony Gupta called security guards ‘monkeys’ – report

Due to the incident having prescribed in terms of Equality Court regulations, the foundation’s CEO, Nishan Balton, said they asked the ANC to get involved in approaching the Human Rights Commission, in line with the role they played during the Penny Sparrow case.

“We want the Human Rights Commission to look into the behaviour of the Guptas with regards to the racist verbal abuse which is consistent with the Penny Sparrow matter.

“[Action taken by the ANC] was the right action and showed the country what to do with racism and highlighted the importance of the Equality Court in dealing with incidents of racism,” Balton said, in relation to the Sparrow matter.

“Rajesh Gupta is alleged to have called workers ‘monkeys’ and ‘baboons’ and so forth. You must also recall that there are allegations that the Guptas preferred white female employees to serve their guests during the Sun City wedding to the exclusion of African staff members,” Balton added.

The request appears to have been declined by Sun International, the owner the North West based casino, but Balton said if the ANC was amenable to their request they would like to jointly “ask the Human Rights Commission to look at this incident and, if they agree, impose a sanction.”

Amanda Tshemese, an ANC employee of the communications department at Luthuli House, explained that Zizi Kodwa, the national spokesperson, was in “meetings” for the most of the day, while Khusela Sangoni, the communications manager, was on leave. Tshemese asked The Citizen to forward email questions to Kodwa on this matter.



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