The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation welcomes the charges instituted by the National Prosecuting
Authority against Rajesh and Atul Gupta and their wives, Chetali and Arti, as well as several of
their business associates.
It also welcomes the Investigating Directorate’s seizure of R520 million worth of assets
belonging to the Guptas, their associate Iqbal Sharma and his wife, Tarina Patel.
“These measures are long overdue. They are steps in the right direction as it has been a long time
since the Guptas and their associates have evaded accountability,” said the Foundation’s
Executive Director, Neeshan Balton.
The Kathrada Foundation first spoke out against this family in 2013 when they abused the
Waterkloof airbase for the arrival of their family wedding guests.
“The current charges appear to be related to one case linked to the Estina Dairy Farm. We hope
that this will be the first of several other charges in relation to the litany of allegations of
corruption and state capture faced by the Guptas and their business network,” said Balton.
“Through Interpol our government may now be able to facilitate the extradition of the Guptas to
South Africa. We urge the United Arab Emirates and the South African government to co-
operate to ensure that the extradition is effected speedily,” Balton said.
The charges against the Guptas follow recent UK sanctions against the family as well as the
implementation of the Magnitsky Act, which curtails their transactions using banks in the United
“These are encouraging signs and now with Interpol being asked to circulate an arrest warrant,
there hopefully will be greater international co-operation in the matter,” said Balton.
Sharma’s bail application is scheduled to be heard in next week.
“The fact that Guptas, as well as their close business associate, Salim Essa, are sitting pretty in
Dubai should be strong motivation to prevent Sharma from obtaining bail and potentially fleeing
the country,” emphasised Balton.
He said that this case should pave the way for the state to further recoup public funds it lost to
alleged corruption and state capture involving the Guptas over the years.
Balton added that the fact that several government officials allegedly implicated in the case have
also been charged sets the right tone. This shows that that those in the public service who may
have facilitated corruption are not going to be spared. He called on other public servants who
may be aware of acts of corruption, who may have been coerced into it, or may have benefited
from its proceeds, to cooperate with law enforcement authorities as they focus on combatting
fraud and corruption.
Balton warned that state capture would not be put to an end by one family and their associates
“The template for capture has been modified and replicated at different levels of government.
While the state has concentrated on cleaning up and tightening loopholes at SOEs, we have
ignored the rampant looting within several provinces and municipalities, which warrant on-going
investigation,” he said.
“Even at a national level we should not assume that we are in the clear. The recent exposures by
the media relating to Digital Vibes and the Department of Health should leave us worried. We
have a country now facing its third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are people dying and
our healthcare system is under strain. Yet vast amounts of money that could have been better
used to purchase vaccines or ventilators, allegedly found its way into the pockets of a few
politically connected individuals. It is as if no lessons were learnt from last year’s PPE
corruption scandals,” Balton said.
“Not only should there be swift accountability and harsh sanction for those found to be guilty in
this case, but we need a sense from our government about what it is doing to prevent another
wave of corruption and acts of state capture from continuing almost unchecked. We may now be
able to hold the Guptas accountable, but it does little to inspire public confidence if what they are
alleged to have done to this country is simply replicated by others,” said Balton.