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Guptas just tip of SA's corruption ice-berg - Saftu

Jul 11 2017 21:00

Cape Town - Corruption in South Africa is not confined only to the wealthy Gupta family, conceded the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu).

The newly-formed union federation, which is headed by Zwelinzima Vavi, who was kicked out of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, weighed in on, among other things, growing allegations of corruption against the controversial Gupta family, who are close friends with President Jacob Zuma.

"For every politician or SOE (state-owned enterprise) official who receives a bribe, there is a company that pays that bribe, and they are not all called Gupta," Saftu charged in a strongly worded statement issued on Tuesday.

"They (the Guptas) are not exceptional, but just a particularly obnoxious example of an inherently corrupt and exploitative capitalist system, and just the tip of an ice-berg of far more widespread corruption within that system," it continued. 

Saftu went on to list Bell Pottinger, McKinsey & Company and SAP as big international companies embroiled in alleged dodgy business deals with the Guptas.

READ: Crunch time for #BellPottinger over dirty tricks for Guptas' Oakbay

The UK-based PR firm Bell Pottinger apologised to South Africa last week over an offensive campaign relating to its business with Gupta-owned Oakbay.

"The very fact that Bell Pottinger have ‘apologised’ for their work on behalf of the Guptas is itself significant. Big PR firms hardly ever apologise, but an apology in itself is meaningless if it is not followed by a complete, uncensored report of all their dealings with the Guptas and South African politicians, officials and business leaders," said Saftu.

The big US-based worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Company is accused of brokering deals between Eskom and a Gupta-related company Trillian Capital Partners.

McKinsey is reviewing a report on Trillian by Advocate Geoff Budlender, in which the firm has been implicated. Trillian’s outgoing chairperson Tokyo Sexwale called for the investigation following allegations that executives at Trillian were aware of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s axing weeks before it happened, and that the group would secure government contracts with Des van Rooyen at the helm of Treasury.

READ: McKinsey director takes 'leave of absence' following Trillian probe

South African director Vikas Sagar has taken a leave of absence, following reports that he misrepresented the firm in a deal involving Trillian.

"Just like Bell Pottinger’s apology McKinsey tried to dodge taking any responsibility by finding a scapegoat; its SA director Vikas Sagar has been asked to take leave, and they are asking US lawyers Norton Rose to do an urgent investigation. As an American-based company they may well face prosecution in the US courts," said Saftu.

The third international firm to come on to the scene German company SAP, which us accused of getting kickbacks by investigative units Scorpio and amaBhungane.

They revealed that in August 2015, SAP signed a “sales commission" agreement with CAD House, what the units call "a small Gupta-controlled company that specialises in selling 3D printers". The terms suggest a thinly disguised kickback arrangement that if CAD House were the ‘effective cause’, i.e. the ‘fixer’, of an SAP-Transnet contract worth R100m or more, the Gupta company would get 10%.

"In the next year, SAP paid CAD House a whopping R99.9-million, suggesting SAP used the Gupta influence network to drive sales of a billion rand to Transnet and other state-owned companies," said Saftu.

READ: SAP continues to deny allegations of kickbacks

The software company strongly rejected these allegations. "SAP is dedicated to conducting every aspect of our business responsibly and in accordance with the highest global compliance and legal standards," it said in a statement.

Saftu it of the view that the alleged corrupt deals with Bell Pottinger, McKinsey & Company and SAP are a few of many more companies whose involvement with the Guptas have not yet come to light.

"The importance of these latest revelations for Saftu is that they reinforce our argument that corruption and the plundering of resources is not just a problem caused by a relatively small coterie of wicked individuals," it claimed. 

Saftu also lashed out at President Zuma's administration, describing it as being "steeped in corruption, patronage and nepotism".

It unequivocally called for Zuma and his cabinet to resign.

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