/ 11 April 2018

Dirco confirms arrest of SA businessman in Dubai after Gupta video

Ajay Gupta.
Ajay Gupta (centre) (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) on Wednesday said it had received confirmation from the South African Consulate General in Dubai that South African businessman Justin van Pletzen was being detained.

“It is alleged that Mr Van Pletzen’s arrest is linked to a video he recently circulated about Mr Ajay Gupta, whom he met in Dubai. However, this is yet to be confirmed by the local authorities,” spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said.

“Consular staff from the mission in Dubai did visit Mr Van Pletzen [on Wednesday] and Dirco will maintain contact with Mr Van Pletzen and his family to render consular services.”

The department was not able to give further details on the nature of the charge or when Van Pletzen would appear in court.

A friend of Van Pletzen confirmed the arrest to News24 on Tuesday, while Dirco confirmed that the businessman’s mother had made contact claiming her son had been apprehended.

In the recording, Van Pletzen is seen speaking to a relaxed Ajay Gupta in Dubai, asking him if he would return to South Africa.

Gupta appears friendly, and tells Van Pletzen that South African authorities had not yet given him “a reply”.

“The day they give a reply, I’ll go there,” Gupta added.

After the publication of the footage, Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said it was up to the investigating officer to find ways to bring Gupta – who is considered a fugitive from justice – back into the country.

The Hawks have not yet revealed what Gupta is wanted for and only said that the charges were not related to the Estina Dairy Farm project in Vrede in the Free State. – News24