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Royal Bafokeng said to end contract with Gupta-linked firm

Oct 19 2017 18:14
Paul Burkhardt and Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg

Cape Town - Royal Bafokeng Platinum will terminate a contract with a company linked to the politically connected Gupta family, according to two people familiar with the decision.

The Johannesburg-based miner won’t renew a contract with Aforika Borwa Mining Solutions (ABMS) that expires at the end of the year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is not public.

ABMS is linked to the Guptas’ holding company, Oakbay Investments. The company was notified of the decision earlier this month, one of the people said.

The termination of the contract is related to efforts by the Guptas’ last remaining bank in the country to close the family’s accounts, said the other person.

The Gupta family, who are friends of President Jacob Zuma and have been in business with one of his sons, have been accused by politicians and civil society groups of using that relationship to influence state contracts and Cabinet appointments. Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing.

Gary Naidoo, a spokesperson for the Gupta family, didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone. Lucy Balimba, a spokesperson for Royal Bafokeng, didn’t immediately respond to calls or a text message seeking comment.

Bank of Baroda, which is the only lender in SA still offering services to companies linked to the Guptas, is seeking a court order that will allow it to close the accounts.

The Guptas had their accounts closed by SA’s four biggest banks last year because the lenders were concerned they would fall foul of regulations aimed at combating money laundering and other financial crimes.

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