/ 24 February 2011

Guptas claim conspiracy

The Gupta family did not respond to detailed questions about the their involvement in the deal with Indian steelmaker Sail this week, but claimed a media conspiracy against them — and all the more so since the launch of their newspaper, The New Age.

Duduzane Zuma said he associated himself with the response.

Gupta spokesperson Gary Naidoo said: “It would seem that there are forces at play which are determined to find fault with the relationship between the president, the government and the Guptas.

“For the umpteenth time, let us repeat: a friendship has existed between the family and the president for many years and it goes back to way before the current president’s ascent to power.

“For the record the family took a decision in 2007 to forgo all government tenders and contracts to stop the continuous insinuation of an improper relationship between government and the Guptas.

“These attacks have intensified since the launch by the family of a national English daily newspaper and [the family’s] entry into the highly contested mining sector.

“We remain surprised by some quarters of the media’s continuous and malicious attacks on the president, the family and its business partners in the face of not a single shred of evidence. Rather, these attacks are based on conjecture and insinuation and innuendo.

“We are even more surprised by your focus on trying at all costs to find something improper in the family’s entrepreneurship, rather than to recognise its innovation in creating jobs and growing foreign direct investment into South Africa.

“Finally, for the record, the family subscribes to the highest standards of governance and ethics (including proactive management of conflicts) in business and the continuous suggesting of impropriety is both tiresome and defamatory.”