On Friday, Duduzane Zuma and the Gupta brothers announced their resignation from Oakbay Investments and Oakbay Resources & Energy. According to City Press newspaper, the Gupta brothers were seen leaving Lanseria airport, Gauteng, with a large amount of luggage in tow.
The report claims that the brothers left in a private aircraft late on Thursday night, “likely for good as they had enough luggage for 20 people”.
Ajay and Atul were the co-chairs of Oakbay Investment, with Atul as chairman of Oakbay Resources & Energy. Duduzane Zuma was a director of Shiva Uranium.
Earlier in March, a publication reported that the Guptas were in the process of leaving South Africa for good. But this was categorically denied by Oakbay Investments at the time. They also threatened to take legal action against any publication that reported that they were on their way out of SA.
The Gupta family’s relationship with President Jacob Zuma has put them under immense pressure, having been accused of using their relationship with Zuma to curry favour with the government. Opposition parties have been up in arms following allegations that the Gupta family was offering jobs to cabinet ministers.
Although the government has rubbished these claims, they were confirmed by Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas. In March, Jonas issued a statement that the Gupta family had offered him the position of minister of finance, after Zuma had axed Nhlanhla Nene from his position as finance minister.
“I rejected this out of hand,” Jonas said in his statement. “The basis of my rejection of their offer is that it makes a mockery of our hard-earned democracy, the trust of our people – and no one, apart from the president of the republic, appoints ministers.” The Guptas were also accused of influencing Zuma’s appointment of Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and Des van Rooyen, whose short-lived reign as finance minister ended with Pravin Gordhan’s reappointment.
On Friday, the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma issued a statement announcing that they were stepping down as executives and non-executives of Oakbay Investments.
“It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that, following a period of sustained political attack on our family and our businesses, we took the decision yesterday to resign all executive and non-executive positions held in Oakbay Investments by Gupta family members,” they said in the statement. They added that the executive committee and the CEOs of each of the companies will continue to oversee the management and running of the business.
“By stepping down from all executive and non-executive positions and any involvement in the business, we hope to save the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people in our great rainbow nation,” the Gupta family said.
The statement came after several companies cut business ties with Oakbay Investments. KPMG was the first to announce the news, with Absa, Sasfin and FNB following suit.