Evidence in the form of emails has been published by the Sunday Times to reveal the extent to which the Gupta family is allegedly controlling South Africa and the country’s government affairs.

Part of these damning  emails were sent by former Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa, and reveal that Tony Gupta received Mosebenzi Zwane’s CV from France Oupa Mokoena, a month before Zwane was appointed Minister of Mineral Resources.

The emails suggest possible involvement by the Guptas in Zwane’s appointment to the minerals resource position, and note that the Guptas had staff member(s) coach Zwane on how to handle media conferences, including questions about his relationship with the Guptas.

Mosebenzi Zwane captured

With a subject line reading “Zwane questions”, Howa e-mailed Tony Gupta and Duduzane Zuma, the former director of Shiva Uranium and Oakbay, and son of President Zuma, on 2 February last year.

Howa drafted questions that included;

  • “Given this perfect storm, you have been described as unsuited to the role of minister of mineral resources given your inexperience?”
  • “Critics have slammed your appointment as proof of government’s alarming lack of urgency in dealing with SA’s ailing mining sector and its ambiguous regulatory framework?”
  • “Your appointment seems to be really irregular? You were silently moved from MEC for Agriculture to mining minister. What do you think the president saw in you to give him the confidence to appoint you?”
  • “Analysts say the mining industry is at its lowest ebb ever and this can be directly attributable to legislation, policies, ideology, corruption, inefficiency, political demagoguing, organisations not adhering to the constitution and draconian labour legislation. What is your comment?”
  • “What about the rumours of your being captured by the Guptas and your appointment was made for you to do their bidding?”
  • “What is your relationship with the Guptas?”

Howa then requested further information and asked for further input from Tony Gupta and Duduzane Zuma.

“I need some help on some of the answers. I think we should also prepare for a question of his role around the Waterkloof landing.

“Perhaps I can sit with someone at his side to help me polish and add to the answers. Let’s chat when you have a chance to review,” read the body of the e-mail.

Zwane has been one of the ministers at the forefront of trying to force South African banks to reopen closed Gupta bank accounts.

State capture of South Africa

The “State Capture Report”, released by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in November 2016 claimed President Zuma, as well as a handful of cabinet ministers, parastatal CEOs and board members are being controlled by the Gupta family, including Minister Zwane.

The report alleges that Zwane played an integral part in facilitating the sale of Glencore’s Optimum Coal Mine to Tegeta, a company owned by the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma, the former director of Shiva Uranium and Oakbay, and son of President Zuma.

The sale is believed to have been negotiated three months after Zwane’s appointment, when he stood up embassy officials and left Zurich for Dubai in a Gupta-owned plane. It was alleged that during his stay in Dubai, Zwane’s accommodation bill was also picked up by the Guptas.

In his capacity as Mines Minister, Madonsela’s report noted that it was unconstitutional for Zwane to conduct such sales on the Gupta’s behalf. Allegations the minister denied.

E-mails from the Oberoi Hotel to Sahara CEO Ashu Chawla confirm that Zwane’s stay at the five-star hotel overlooking the Burj Khalifa was paid for by Sahara. Through the emails, Chawla emerges as a key player in the “intricate web of state capture” reports the Sunday Times.

Eskom’s interim CEO captured

The emails also revealed that the Guptas paid for a luxury suite for Matshela Koko who was appointed acting CEO of Eskom, after Brian Molefe’s abrupt resignation. At the time Koko was Eskom’s group executive in charge of generating power.

Koko has since been suspended as CEO pending investigations, after Impulse International, under his step-daughter Koketso Choma’s directorship was awarded lucrative contracts worth R1 billion from a division of Eskom, that Koko headed up until he became CEO at the power utility.

Eskom and Tegeta

The power utility levied a fine on Optimum’s previous owners, Glencore after the mine delivered substandard coal. Tegeta, owned by the Guptas inherited the fine when it bought the mine from Glencore last year.

Eskom noted in April 2017 that it had entered into a settlement agreement with Tegeta.


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