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01 Mar 2011 19:38
President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma, and Indian businessmen Ajay Gupta and Jagdish Parekh told Congress of South African Trade Unions leadership on Tuesday that they were prepared to “open their books and bank balances” for the federation’s probe into their businesses.
“They gave Cosatu a file giving details of all their companies, which the federation will now study and appoint a person to follow up whatever information may be necessary,” said spokesman Patrick Craven in a statement.
“The Guptas have offered to co-operate with the Cosatu investigation and are prepared to open their books and their bank balances to the probe.”
The three met Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini and secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi.
The Sunday Times reported that the Guptas and Zuma jnr were directors and shareholders in a deal with China Railway Construction Corporation in which they stood to benefit on the government’s R550-billion rail infrastructure programme.
South Africa’s rapid-rail infrastructure programme was announced by Minister of Transport Sbu Ndebele late last year for high-speed links between Johannesburg and Durban, Cape Town and Musina.
The network will cost an estimated R500-billion, while replacing about 8000 coaches, as part of the government’s planned recapitalisation of rolling stock, will add at least another R50-billion to the price tag.
The Chinese deal follows the controversial ArcelorMittal R9-billion empowerment deal in which the Gupta brothers and Zuma jnr were said to benefit at least R3,2-billion.
‘Never took a single cent’
Craven said the three claimed the “Gupta family never took a single cent from government, never tendered or won a government tender, never received any mining licence”.
They said the family only had a Memorandum of Understanding with an Indian company to explore the possibility of opening a steel company.
Zuma jnr and the Guptas also denied the reports that they were to benefit by R3,2-billion from the deal.
“Similarly there was only a MOU with a Chinese company—the Chinese Rail Commuter Corporation.”
They also denied the reported R500-billion deal.
“Both the Indian and Chinese companies are likely to withdraw from South Africa due to the negative publicity.”
The Arcelor-Mittal deal was still to be presented to the shareholders and the likelihood was that the deal would not go through, the three told Cosatu.
“They have never ever asked the President to open doors for them in any way, ” said Craven.—Sapa
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