Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

‘The truth will come out’: Gupta-owned Oakbay backs judicial inquiry into banks

A judicial commission of inquiry into banks is the best way to shed light on the reasoning behind their decision to close off accounts with Oakbay Investments, said chief executive Nazeem Howa.

In a teleconference with the press, Howa expressed disappointment in the four major banks’ decision to close accounts with the business. He was also sharing news on the group’s maiden financial results for the year ended February 29 2016.

“We are still in the dark as to why they closed accounts. A judicial inquiry will ensure that the truth comes out,” said Howa. “We intend to reach out in the coming weeks, again, to the four banks, and implore them to reopen our accounts,” the group said in a statement.

Sasfin had withdrawn as JSE sponsor for Oakbay Resources and Energy earlier in the year and audit firm KPMG also severed ties with the company. “It was a big shock for us, all these institutions withdrawing, without giving good reasons,” said Howa.

The group had to adapt to the changes to run the business in a “sustainable” way. Howa said it was “common knowledge” that Oakbay now has a foreign bank, operating with a South African license, to run the group’s accounts.

SizweNtsalubaGobodo has since stepped in as the group’s new auditors. River Group is now Oakbay Resources JSE sponsor. “We believe the new sponsor will take the business to the next level,” he said.

Howa said that reports about state capture were not correct. As a private company, the group has no legal obligation to release results on financial performance. The group intends to be more transparent to bring about clarity on some “myths”. Among these being that the group is “heavily reliant” on government business.

Fin24 reported earlier today that 8.9% of the group’s revenue was generated from government contracts.

Mining, the group’s largest division contributed R1.17-billion (44.5%) of revenue. This includes JSE listed Oakbay Resources which owns Shiva Uranium and the Brakfontein mine. The group also has a 29% shareholding in Tegeta, which operates Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines.

“Our uranium operations have nothing to do with the wider South African nuclear story. Our expectation is that our life of mine will have comfortably passed before South Africa is ready for nuclear,” the group stated.

The group is also proud of the fact that it could turnaround the financial position of Optimum Coal Mine. Chief operating officer George van Der Merwe said this was as a result of improved efficiencies which boosted production.

A second drag line is operational and a third will be introduced in the third quarter to increase production. Optimum was released from its “business rescue” status on August 31 2016, five months after being acquired by Tegeta. “When we bought Optimum we knew we would be able to turn it around,” he said.

Howa said that the management could not comment on who would be taking over the Gupta family’s stake in the business, as it is a matter for shareholders. – Fin24

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

R350 relief grant will be paid into bank accounts or...

There are concerns that post office branch closures will make it difficult for beneficiaries to access the grant

South Africa at risk of spillover from international inflation, economists...

Higher international oil prices, for example, could affect local transport costs through second-round effects

More top stories

No action just yet on Digital Vibes report, Ramaphosa signals

‘I will come out and explain to the nation exactly how I will deal with [the SIU] report,’ Ramaphosa said during a walkabout at vaccine sites in Gauteng

Zuma children call for his unconditional release

The Zuma family also urged people to continue to desist from destroying infrastructure, adding that it opposed the arrest of Ngizwe Mchunu

EFF and Mkhwebane welcome high court judgment slamming some of...

The public protector has called for the impeachment process against her to be halted with immediate effect

Do South Africans prefer prayer to vaccines?

According to an Afrobarometer survey of 1 600 people, the majority of people do not trust the government to deliver safe vaccines
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×