Guptas, Duduzane Zuma step down from Oakbay

The Gupta family have announced that they will be resigning from all executive and non-executive positions held in Oakbay Investments, while Duduzane Zuma, the president’s son, will exit all his positions held the Oakbay group.

The announcement was made on Friday afternoon in two separate statements from the company.

Oakbay Investments is the holding company for the family’s business interests in South Africa, which include the listed mining company Oakbay Resources and Energy, Sahara Computers and media firms The New Age newspaper and broadcast ANN7.  

The news came after a series of large financial services firms ditched the Gupta family and the Oakbay group of companies – the latest being First National Bank, which announced on Wednesday that it had given notice to close the accounts of all entities associated with Oakbay Investments. 

Read more here: Guptas too hot to handle

“It is with deep regret and a heavy heart, that following a period of sustained political attack on our family and our businesses, we took the decision yesterday to resign all executive and non-executive positions held in Oakbay Investments, by Gupta family members,” the statement said.  

“Oakbay’s executive committee and the CEOs of each of the businesses will continue to oversee the management and running of the business and all portfolio companies going forward.” 

The family said it hoped that by stepping down from these positions it would help save “tens of thousands” of jobs.  

In a separate statement issued through Oakbay, Duduzane Zuma said he would be relinquishing all positions held at Oakbay companies and would be “exiting investments to preserve the jobs of Oakbay’s thousands of employees and to de-politicise my participation in business.” 

The close relationship between the Zuma family and the Gupta’s had in recent months been in spotlight leading to accusations of “state capture”.  

Prior to FNB’s announcement this week, Oakbay’s auditors KPMG, as well as its JSE sponsor Sasfin have in recently terminated their services to Oakbay companies.  

These events have followed allegations that Gupta family members offered deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, the role of finance minister before Nhlanhla Nene was axed from the post in December last year.  

In December 2015, bankers Absa also gave the family notice.

In an apparent Oakbay Investments memo to employees – apparently leaked on social media by TimesLive – the company said that the closure of its bank accounts had made it “virtually impossible to continue to do business in South Africa”. As a result, it said that this may make the company unable to pay staff. 

Oakbay said it was in talks with the ministries of finance, labour, mineral resources and the office of the president to “express deep disappointment over the decisions of our banking partners and to make it very clear that livelihoods are at risk if we are unable to restore these important banking relationships”.

The family have consistently denied the allegations against them and argued that the steady isolation of their business interest is due to a political campaign against them.

“We find it totally unacceptable that several thousand direct employees and tens of thousands of their dependents will have to suffer as a result of the campaign against Oakbay and the Gupta family,” the family said on Friday.

In his announcement Duduzane Zuma said that the economy was skewed against black people, forming the basis of the struggle for political and economic emancipation.

Nevertheless, Zuma said despite his efforts to “participate meaningfully in the economy, aspersions were cast on me and my family.”

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Lynley Donnelly
Lynley Donnelly
Lynley is a senior business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. But she has covered everything from social justice to general news to parliament - with the occasional segue into fashion and arts. She keeps coming to work because she loves stories, especially the kind that help people make sense of their world.

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Press Releases

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday