Businessman Ajay Gupta defended his family in television broadcast on Wednesday (22/06/16)‚ saying he was neither a lobbyist nor a state capturer.
He was speaking as a member of the audience at The New Age business briefing in Sandton‚ screened on the SABC’s Morning Live breakfast show.
“Are you a lobbyist or have you got an unfair advantage that could be deemed to be state capture?” he was asked.
“Let me give you a straight answer. I’m not a lobbyist. I’m not a state capturer‚” he said.
Echoing the sentiments of Oakbay Investments chief executive officer Nazeem Howa‚ who was a guest on the show‚ Gupta suggested that the concept of state capture was a fiction of imagination‚ concocted by the media.
The New Age newspaper was launched by the Gupta family and has raised large sums of money hosting business breakfasts in collaboration with government departments.
He vehemently denied any suggestion that he or his brothers had ever offered deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas a position as the country’s Finance Minister‚ gesticulating with his left hand adorned by two large rings.
The Sunday Times reported in March that President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane was present when members of the Gupta family offered Jonas then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s job.
Jonas and former African National Congress MP Vytjie Mentor have alleged that they were offered ministerial jobs by the family.
Gupta said that his brother Atul was overseas when the alleged job offer was made.
“By oath‚ I can say I have never seen him [Jonas] in my life‚” he said‚ laughing.
He acknowledged that he had on many occasions sat down and chatted to cabinet ministers‚ often at meetings between business leaders and government ministers at the Presidential Guest House‚ but said there was no lobbying involved.
The Sunday Times published allegations at the weekend of how the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma tried to capture a parastatal‚ the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa)‚ and profit from a R51-billion tender.
Asked if the family had tried to capture the lucrative Prasa tender‚ Gupta said: “Tell me‚ if we captured then why we did not get that?”
Source: Herald Live