Oakbay workers march to banks to ‘save’ their jobs

Hundreds of workers from Gupta family-owned Oakbay Investments will on Tuesday march to the banks in an effort to save their jobs.

The operations of Oakbay were thrown into jeopardy after South Africa’s four main banks closed accounts of businesses owned by the controversial family.

It is claimed that at least 7 500 people work for Oakbay, whose businesses include, Sahara Computers, The New Age newspaper and ANN7, a television news channel. The family also has mining interests.

Last week, some affected workers made a passionate plea to the banks to re-open the company’s business accounts, saying failure to do so would cost them their jobs.

In the open letter, signed off by two staff representatives, the workers indicated that their livelihoods were at stake, and they refused to be “victims of corporate conflicts”.

The letter was addressed to chief executives of the banks, which shunned Oakbay amid reports the company’s owners were accused of being involved in “state capture”.

The Guptas have been accused of offering Cabinet minister positions to members of the ruling ANC in exchange for favourable decisions that advance their business interests. The Guptas and President Jacob Zuma have rejected the allegations as false.

However, auditors KPMG and Oakbay’s JSE sponsor Sasfin cut their ties with the family businesses soon after the scandal surfaced.

The closure of Oakbay’s accounts by the banks provoked an angry response from Cosatu, which lamented possible job losses.

The South African Cabinet has since endorsed the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to engage the banks on the closure of accounts.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane and Labour Minister Nelisiwe Mildred Oliphant have been tasked with setting up a meeting with the banks to “open constructive talks to find lasting a solution”. – African News Agency (ANA)

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.


Coalition politics and law: The fight over Tshwane

With coalition politics on the rise, particularly in local government, this kind of court case is likely to become more common

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

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Press Releases

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

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday