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Ajay Gupta speaks out for the first time on state capture

Jun 22 2016 10:16
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – Ajay Gupta on Wednesday spoke out for the first time on allegations of state capture, which he and his brother Atul have been accused of.

Speaking as an audience member during SABC’s Morning Live breakfast show, President Jacob Zuma’s close friend said he is “not a lobbyist” or a “state capturer”.

Gupta said he believes the idea of state capture is an imaginary concept created by the media. “It is mind capture, it is media capture,” he said.

“As far as I am concerned, I am a friend only (to Zuma),” he said.

RELATED: While the Guptas have received no indication that they are being investigated for state capture, authorities seem to be starting the probing process.

Gupta also said neither he nor his brother have ever met Finance Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas.

The authorities were asked to investigate state capture after Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor claimed the Guptas offered them ministerial posts. The allegations are that Zuma and the Guptas are using government officials and ministers to get key government tenders in the energy, transport and media sectors.

RELATED: Gupta and Zuma-owned Tegeta Resources and Exploration is prepared to fight Eskom over a R2bn fine it inherited from Glencore when it bought Optimum coal mine this year.

The Public Protector is seeking funds to conduct an investigation into government state capture, while the Hawks are busy with an inquiry into three affidavits brought to them by the Democratic Alliance, Cope and Mentor.

However, Gupta denied meeting Jonas. “Atul Gupta was overseas at the time they told (us we had allegedly met Jonas),” he said. “I can say I have never seen him in my life.

“By the way, he (Atul) never, never meets with most of the politicians. He (was) always busy in his business. He is an administrator; he do his business only.”  


Ajay Gupta at the SABC breakfast show on Wednesday. (Photo: SABC)

Asked if he has sat down in meetings with cabinet members, he said: “Many times.” Asked what they spoke about, he said: “So many things.”

He said the first time he started having meetings with cabinet ministers was during former president Thabo Mbeki’s advisory forum about 10 years ago. He said Naspers chairperson Koos Bekker was also present. “We (would) all sit together and discuss the country and what best we can do for the country,” he said.

Asked if there was a conspiracy, he replied: “Ah, not at all, not at all. I will never say this thing. Everybody (must) do his own work, (their) own thing."

EXCLUSIVE NEWS24 VIDEO INTERVIEW: Oakbay CEO speaks out on coal and cash reports

Gupta explained why they resigned from all their positions in the Oakbay companies.

“(It was) very interesting in our life when we resigned,” he said.

He asked his team “what is the problem” and they said “the problem is the Gupta name”.

“So I said let’s go, let us resign – you run the business.

“Now the boss is Nazeem (Howa); not me or anybody else. So, he’s very happy.

“Only 1% of our business is with government. So how (can) we capture, I don’t understand,” he said.

“People don’t want to listen.

“Meeting (politicians) is not a problem at all and I (am) not going to deny (it); I’m never going to deny anything that… we did.”  

EXCLUSIVE FIN24 INTERVIEW (WITH PODCAST): The Gupta brothers’ friendship with President Jacob Zuma has been made a “little more difficult” since allegations of state capture emerged this year, says Gupta spokesperson Gary Naidoo.

WATCH: SABC's Peter Ndoro interviews Ajay Gupta on SABC's Morning Live

oakbay  |  mcebisi jonas  |  gupta family  |  state capture
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