Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan accused the bosses of several Gupta-owned companies of ganging up on him on live radio on Sunday evening, after they called to challenge the minister on the blacklisting of Oakbay’s bank accounts.
Oakbay Investments is the holding company for the Gupta family’s businesses in South Africa, with investments spanning a variety of sectors, including mining, ICT, engineering and media.
During a live radio interview on PowerFM on Sunday evening, Gordhan was called by no less than four executives including Sahara CEO Stephan Nel, The New Age managing editor Gary Naidoo, Oakbay Resources and Energy CEO Jacques Roux, and one other Oakbay manager.
According to News24, all four executives asked the question: “What is Treasury doing to solve the banking blacklisting crisis at Oakbay?”
Major banking institutions have all cut ties with the Gupta family businesses during the course of the year, amid allegations of attempted state capture.
Some banks have cited reputational concerns as the primary reason for moving away from the Gupta family businesses, whilst some have remained silent, claiming it is a confidential matter.
The Guptas and Oakbay have denied all of the allegations against them.
Over the course of the interview Gordhan told the executives that where Treasury can assist it will do so.
When the fourth executive called Gordhan said: “I have indicated that a channel that existed will be activated. There are options that are not being undertaken (that can be looked at).”
“Four of you have now phoned,” he said. “I am surprised that you are using a talk show to resolve (your concerns).”
The finance minister stressed that a confidential and contractual relationship exists between banks and their clients, in accordance with international banking regulations.
“I don’t want to engage. We can’t have this conversation over a talk show,” Gordhan said. “With all due respect to the individuals, there is a channel of communication with Treasury,” he said.