|IOL News 4 March 2016
Johannesburg - Just two weeks after their company got Competition Tribunal authority to buy a former Glencore coal mine, the Gupta brothers are reportedly leaving South Africa.
This is according to African Confidential, which is reporting that three Gupta brothers - Ajay, Atul and Rajesh - are in the process of moving to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
African Confidential, citing sources in the ruling ANC, says the move is because many of the family's businesses are under increased scrutiny, especially contracts with government or state-owned enterprises.
The relationship between the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma has been lambasted by opposition parties - notably the Economic Freedom Fighters - and cries of “Zupta must fall” are resonating through SA.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has also become involved amid concerns that the family is too close to the government. Just days before February’s budget speech, Gordhan - according to the Sunday Times - pulled the plug on the Gupta-owned New Age newspaper's post-budget breakfast briefing.
Towards the end of last year, Tegeta Exploration & Resources, a company owned by Oakbay Investments and Mabengela Investments, purchased the former Glencore mine, Optimum, which had been placed into bankruptcy protection for R2.15 billion.
Tegeta is 64-percent owned by Mabengela Investments, which in turn is 45-percent held by Duduzane Zuma, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The Gupta family’s stake in the venture is held through Oakbay Investments.
The BBC reports Bongi Ngema-Zuma, one of the president's wives, works for the Guptas and Duduzile Zuma, his daughter, was a director at Sahara Computers in 2008, but has since resigned.
According to Bloomberg, Tegeta wants to find more opportunities after being cleared by regulators to acquire Glencore’s Optimum coal complex. “Tegeta is an ambitious business and on the lookout for new opportunities to grow the business,” it quotes an email from Oakbay Investments as saying. “It is our view that any person, or company, should be free to compete fairly for any business.”
The company is now also acquiring the rights to export eight million metric tons of coal through the Richard’s Bay Coal Terminal, Bloomberg reports.
According to the BBC, brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh - who it says is known as Tony - Gupta moved to SA when they were in their 40s. They moved, says the UK-based site, from India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh in Saharanpur in 1993.
After moving to SA, the Gupta family started Sahara Computers, a company completely separate to the Indian conglomerate of the same name, which reportedly employs 10 000 people and turns over about R200 million.
The Gupta family also owns uranium assets through its listed Oakbay company. Oakbay Resources & Energy owns 74 percent of Shiva Uranium and Atul is its chairman, with Varun as CEO, according to its website. Shiva Uranium, which owns the Dominion and Rietkuil mines, was previously a unit of Uranium One, formerly run by Neal Froneman, Sibanye Gold’s current CEO.