The CEO of Gupta owned investment company Oakbay, Nazeem Howa has reportedly called on the help of president Jacob Zuma, after several major banks cut ties with the business.
On Friday, JSE-listed Oakbay Resources and Energy, a subsidiary of Oakbay Investments, announced that its non-executive chairman, Atul Gupta, and its chief executive officer, Varun Gupta, have resigned with immediate effect.
The group said that it made the decision following “a sustained political attack on the company, and the concern that the jobs and livelihoods of nearly one thousand employees would be at immediate risk as a result of the outgoing director’s association with the company.”
The Gupta family has come under increased scrutiny in recent months, following allegations that the family was attempting to capture the state through business relationships with the president.
Subsequent to the allegations, a number of South African finance groups, including KPMG, Absa, FNB and Sasfin, have cut all ties to the family’s businesses, including Oakbay Resources.
The family has denied all allegations, claiming that they are victim to political in-fighting within the ANC.
According to Times Live, a letter allegedly penned by the CEO to staff at Oakbay, was leaked to the press.
The letter calls on the office of the president, along with several other ministries, to intervene in the decisions taken by former ‘banking partners’ and ‘to make it very clear that livelihoods are at risk if we are unable to restore these important banking relationships’.
In the letter, Howa reportedly said the following:
“It is with deep regret‚ that following a period of sustained political attack on the Gupta family and our businesses‚ and by extension‚ you our employees‚ we have come to the conclusion that it is time for the Gupta family to step down from all executive and non-executive positions. In doing this‚ the family hope to end the campaign against Oakbay and save all of our jobs.”
“The closure of our bank accounts has made it virtually impossible to continue to do business in South Africa.
“Without bank accounts we may find ourselves in a position where we are unable to pay you‚ our valued employees. We are doing everything in our power to ensure this does not happen. We find it totally unacceptable that you‚ our employees‚ and your families could potentially have to suffer as a result of the political campaign against us.
“To this end we have been in direct contact with the Ministries of Labour‚ Finance‚ Mineral Resources and the Office of the President to express deep disappointment over the decisions of our banking partners and to make it very clear that livelihoods are at risk if we are unable to restore these important banking relationships.
“We are confident that through the family’s decision to distance themselves from the business banking relationships will soon be restored‚ salaries will be paid and business will continue as normal.”
The full copy of the letter can be read here