Report Details Zuma-Gupta Nexus

South Africa’s outgoing anti-corruption investigator, public protector Thulisile Nomkhosi "Thuli" Madonsela, released a 355-page report on how much the Gupta brothers, an Indian business family originally from Saharanpur, held sway over the government of ex-prime minister Jacob Zuma. The report implicates Zuma, at least three of his ministers and the Guptas in a web of corruption.

Among its revelations were that the Gupta brothers had the remarkable ability to promote or remove ministers who did not do their bidding. It recounts them offering deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas the senior portfolio if he was prepared to help them make money from the government. Mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane was accused of personally intervening to help the brothers buy a coal mine, flying to Switzerland as part of a delegation of the Gupta-owned Tegeta firm and negotiating a purchase. The Gupta’s had unusually strong grip over Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned power utility firm. The report says Tegeta would receive millions of dollars in pre-payments for coal supplies to Eskom which were then used by the Guptas to pick up other assets.

A number of former ministers, including a finance minister and a minister for public enterprises, were removed from their jobs for opposing the Guptas. Among the government agencies that were able to thwart some of the Guptas’ action was the Treasury then and still headed by the Indian-origin Pravin Gordhan.

Madonsela, who waged a seven-year war against corruption in the Zuma regime, stepped down after releasing the report. She has left recommendations that a commission of inquiry, headed by a court appointed judge, should further pursue the charges she and her team made.


August 28, 2018



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About the Author

Pramit Pal Chaudhury

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Foreign Editor, Hindustan Times, and Distinguished Fellow & Head, Strategic Affairs, Ananta Aspen Centre

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri writes on political, security, and economic issues. He previously wrote for the Statesman and the Telegraph in Calcutta. He served on the National Security Advisory Board of the Indian government from 2011-2015. Among other affiliations, he is a member of the Asia Society Global Council, the Aspen Institute Italia, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and the Mont Pelerin Society. Pramit is also a senior associate of Rhodium Group, New York City, advisor to the Bower Group Asia in India, a member of the Council on Emerging Markets, Washington, DC, and a delegate for the Confederation of Indian Industry-Aspen Strategy Group Indo-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and the Ananta Aspen Strategic Dialogues with Japan, China and Israel. Born in 1964, he has visited over fifty countries on five continents. Mr. Pal Chaudhuri is a history graduate from Cornell University.