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How the Gupta brothers and the nuclear industry bought South Africa

The Brothers Who Bought South Africa, The continent’s most important economy now appears to function for the benefit of one powerful family. Bloomberg, By Matthew Campbell and Franz Wild, 9 Nov 17 

“….– Since Nene’s firing, long-standing questions about the scale of the Guptas’ power in South Africa have exploded into the most severe political and economic crisis since the end of apartheid. The family has been accused by activists and opposition politicians of stacking the leadership of powerful state companies, rigging bids in favor of suppliers it controls, and even helping orchestrate a planned $70 billion nuclear-power deal with Russia, for which it could supply vast quantities of uranium—all while using an alliance with Zuma to neuter law enforcement agencies that would otherwise shut down its efforts. Blue chip companies including McKinseyKPMG, and SAP have been embroiled in what’s fast becoming a global scandal……..

In 2005 the brothers began putting Zuma’s family on their payroll. They hired his son Duduzane, then in his early 20s, as an IT specialist; appointed Duduzane’s twin sister, Duduzile, as a company director; and made one of Zuma’s wives (polygamy is legal in South Africa, and Zuma currently has four) a communications officer.

Over the years, Duduzane became an integral node in the Guptas’ empire, both as a shareholder in uranium and coal mines and a director in a string of other companies. …….
There was at least one more avenue by which money might flow from Eskom to Gupta-connected companies. In 2010 the family’s investment company borrowed about 250 million rand from a state bank to buy a South African uranium mine. It was a curious purchase—there was no real buyer for the uranium, because South Africa has only one aging nuclear plant. In 2014, however, Zuma’s administration laid out a grand plan that would make the mine’s value soar: He proposed building six massive nuclear plants for Eskom at an ultimate cost that could exceed $70 billion.

The idea was controversial from the start. In addition to immense reserves of coal, South Africa has a vibrant renewable-energy sector and no obvious need for nuclear power.

 Zuma has dismissed the criticism, arguing the country needs to diversify its energy sources—and strategic alliances. In 2014, he and President Putin agreed that Russia’s state nuclear agency, Rosatom Corp., would provide technology for the plants.

The next summer, Zuma was back in Russia for an economic summit, joined by his senior ministers—including Nene, the then-finance chief. Toward the end of the conference, according to two officials who were present, Zuma cornered Nene in a briefing room about the nuclear deal. The president and several other ministers demanded that Nene provide financial guarantees that would allow Eskom and Russia’s relationship to move ahead. Nene refused; even under the most optimistic projections, he said, a nuclear project of the scale Zuma envisioned would severely strain South African finances.

Zuma complained bitterly about Nene’s resistance, the summit officials say. Not long afterward, Nene’s deputy, Jonas, found himself in the Guptas’ sitting room at Saxonwold, being offered his boss’s job…….

The Guptas’ apparent grip on politics is resilient, but their freedom of movement has been significantly reduced—and doing business with them now carries potentially fatal risks……..

November 9, 2017 - Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa

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