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Guptas' hold on Zuma even affected heads of state - BLSA leader

May 03 2018 19:54
Khulekani Magubane

Cape Town – The scourge of state capture under former president Jacob Zuma was so bad that even leaders and government officials from other governments had to play nicely with the Gupta family at international gatherings, just to get the president’s ear.

This is according to Business Leadership South Africa communications director Themba Maseko. Maseko was speaking to delegates on the first day of the Brand Summit South Africa in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon.

He praised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts in restoring business confidence since replacing Zuma.

Aside from cleaning up departments and state-owned enterprises, Ramaphosa has sought to soothe relations between business and state. Maseko said business had a chequered relationship with the African National Congress under Zuma, which affected its relationship with government.

While there has been no ambiguity about what state capture is and what it seeks to achieve, Maseko gave insights into what he called the Gupta family’s hold over the president, even in the presence of other heads of state and dignitaries.

“We had a situation which was so embarrassing for our country that when we went to a conference in India and the minister of the Indian government wanted to speak to the president, they were told that they had to consult with Atul or with Ajay,” said Maseko.

He said during a gathering of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping of 2013 in Durban, heads of state were expected to speak to the Guptas if they hoped to speak to Zuma on the sidelines of the conference.

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