What comes to your mind at the thought of the Gupta family? The Indian family is a group of three brothers who amassed a lot of wealth within two decades after they set foot in South Africa. The Guptas are currently facing charges of corruption and wielding the country's political influence. You might be interested in finding out more details about the dealings that they have engaged in.
The Gupta family has been in the headlines for being involved in some of the most corrupt dealings in the country. They have been linked to several corruption cases. Apart from that, they also have a record of being involved in cases of influencing the country's decision-making process; "state capture". There are claims that they had a significant influence on the appointments into the ministerial positions. Their relationship with the former president has caused allegations that the former president was involved in their corrupt dealings. You might want to find out more about them.
How did the Gupta family get to South Africa?
Could you be wondering about how the family got into the country? If that is the case, the details of how the family came to South Africa are available. The three brothers; Atul, Ajay (AJ Gupta), and Rajesh (popularly known as Tony), came to South Africa in 1993. By then, they were in their forties and had chosen to relocate from Uttar Pradesh in Saharanpur in India.
According to the family spokesman, the father of the three brothers; Shiv Kumar Gupta, sent Atul to come to South Africa with the thoughts that Africa would become 'America of the world' and that it was the 'world's land of opportunities'. According to the records, Atul got to South Africa and established a company; Sahara Computers. He was amazed with how the business flourished because of the minimal restrictions that he experienced while running it compared to India.
The company currently has employed more than ten thousand people and has an annual return of more than 200 million Rands. It has a great influence on the Guptas net worth.
Apart from the computer business, the company has interests in the following sectors; mining, media, air travel, energy, and technology. These companies have also influenced the Gupta family net worth. They also own companies back in India whose influence on the Gupta family net worth is significant.
The Gupta Empire net worth
The family has records of shares in the following companies in the mining industry:
- Black Edge Exploration
- Shiva Uranium mine
- Westdawn Investment (Pty) Ltd
- Oakbay Resources and Energy
- Tegeta Exploration and Resources
- Uranium and gold mining Processing company
The family also has interests in the following media companies:
- The New Age
- TNA Media (Pty)
- Africans News Network
Besides the above-mentioned companies, the family also has links to the following world companies:
- KPMG which is a network of independent firms that operate globally offering tax, audit and advisory services.
- McKinsey; a worldwide management consulting firm.
- SAP which is a German multinational software corporation.
Being associated with these businesses has had a great influence on the net worth of each one of the brothers. For instance, in 2016, Atul Gupta was listed as the seventh richest man in South Africa. Atul Gupta net worth was estimated to be 10.7 billion Rand. It goes without question that Ajay Gupta net worth is not any less figure.
Gupta family houses
The Guptas stand to be among the wealthiest families in South Africa. They have some of the most lavish homes. These are some of the most expensive houses that they own:
Gupta empire South Africa
This is one of the assets that make the family stand to be among the richest families in South Africa. Their Sahara Estate; which is a multi-million rand estate, is located in Saxonwold suburb. This is the Gupta family house which comprises of four mansions and has an estimated net worth of about 52 million Rand. This Guptas house is served by more than five chefs as well as a number of bodyguards. To add to it, it also has a helicopter pad.
Sir Mark Thatcher house
The family also added the home of Sir Mark Thatcher to the list of the Gupta's houses. Sir Mark Thatcher is the son of Margaret Thatcher who is a former Prime Minister of the UK. This house is situated in Cape Town.
The United Arab Emirates mansion
Apart from the luxirious houses that the family owns in South Africa, they have a house in Emirates Hill in Dubai. The worth of this Gupta house in Dubai is estimated to be 448 million Rands. By the time the family bought the house, it was among the most expensive houses in the United Arab Emirates.
The mansion is a lavish house with many rooms. According to descriptions, the house is too extravagant, even with the standards in Dubai. During the time that the family was accused of wielding political influence in South Africa, the Gupta brothers relocated to stay in their Dubai mansion and it was alleged that the Guptas military vehicle was parked to guard the home.
The Zuma's and the Gupta's; the "Zuptas"
There have been claims that the former president has had close ties with the Guptas. The claims have been proved by the several Zuma family members who are alleged to have worked with the Guptas. These are so far the records of the family members who are said to have had ties with them.
It is alleged that Duduzile, Zuma's daughter, is alleged to have worked at Sahara computers. The records claim that Duduzile started working as the director at Sahara Computers six months after her father had gotten into office as the president. She, later on, resigned form the position.
According to the records, Duduzane Zuma has a record of serving as the director of most of the companies owned by the Guptas. He, however, stepped out of office as a result of public pressure.
Bongi Ngema-Zuma, one of Zuma's wives, is claimed to have also worked for the family as a communications officer at JIC Mining Services. There are allegations that the Guptas family gave her a mansion in Pretoria whose worth is 3.8M Rands.
During an interview with BBC, Atul stated that he met president Zuma more than ten years ago during one of the functions that the family's company had hosted.
The Gupta family scandal
The family has a record of alleged corrupt dealings and misuse of power. These are some of the incidents where the Gupta brothers have been in the headlines.
The lavish wedding that extended to misuse of power
The Gupta family has for the past year caused mixed reactions in the country. The first moment that they openly stirred controversy in the country was in 2013. During this period, a family plane that was carrying guests who wanted to attend a wedding ceremony between Vega Gupta and Aakash Jahajgarhia landed at the Waterkloof Air Base. Normally, Waterkloof Air Base, which is situated near Pretoria, is reserved for the heads of state and any other diplomatic delegations visiting the country.
According to the opposition and a section of the members in the ruling party, this was proof that the family had abused power. Despite the constant pointing of fingers that went on after the incident, a member of the family; Atul Gupta, went on to insist that the family had not done anything wrong. He, however, issued an apology regarding the matter saying;
"Our family was simply trying to give [our] daughter... a memorable wedding on South African soil".
Apart from the plane landing in the military base, the guests were escorted to the lavish Sun City resort by a troop of police officers.
There are allegations that the family took advantage of their relationship with the then president, Zuma, to 'misuse' state property.
Allegations of trying to 'capture' the state
There are claims relating to the family's attempts to influence the country's politics with interests of protecting the family business and 'capture the state'. These allegations have caused the roar to have the Gupta family scandal explained. There have been a series of claims that have linked the family to trying to control the country's politics, especially for the state appointments.
Political influence on ministerial appointments
In March 2016, the Deputy minister of finance; Mcebisi Jonas, came up with claims that a member of the family had offered him a deal that would offer him the ministerial position in 2015. The family denied the claims.
These claims come months after another ANC member of parliament came up with claims that the family had also come forward with a deal for her. She stated that the family had offered to influence her position as a minister of public enterprise. According to the minister, the family had given her the proposal during a meeting in the Guptas family mansion in Saxonworld. To add to it, she stated that the former president was also in the mansion when the proposal was made to her.
In response to the claims, the Gupta family came forward to refute the claims saying they had not made such an offer to her. The former president also distanced himself from the claims saying that he could not recall being present as claimed.
Apart from these instances where the claims that were made public. It is alleged that the family had so much influence in the appointment of some of the ministers during Zuma's tenure. They are also alleged to have influenced the firing of ministers who may have failed to comply with the interest of their businesses. One such case that has had most people speculating that the Guptas could be related to the firings is the scandal involving the former Minister of Finance; Pravin Gordhan. The minister, later on, accused the family of being involved in transactions which he termed as 'suspicious'. According to the minister, the scandals have a worth of $490m.
Demand for diplomatic passports
According to a report that The Sundays Times Newspaper has made, the Gupta family made demands to have diplomatic passports. His reports stated that the Guptas claimed that they had enough political clout in the country and that they should be given diplomatic passports.
In their defence, they claimed that they had travelled with the former president outside the country. They went further to state that the many times that they had travelled was all in a bid to promote the country's business ties. Their demands were, however, not met.
When the issue about the demand for diplomatic passports came up, the family spokesperson denied the claims saying; " the reports are a determined drive to malign the family."
The Department of International Relations and Co-operation voiced the claims stating that the family had made the demands.
It is also alleged that the Gupta family made a donation to the ruling party; African Nationaal Congress. The party has not come forth to react to these claims.
Vrede farm project
In 2017, there were leaked emails that confirmed that there were ties between the Gupta family and the government. Investigations into the matter revealed that several million dollars were deposited to Atul Gupta's account. According to some reports, the money was supposed to have been used to support the livelihood of poor farmers.
Further investigation into the matter revealed that Atul had not shown any interest in farming. Neither had he supplied any farming equipment for the project. He has so far not made any comments regarding this scandal.
Gupta family cars
As investigations on the corruption cases that the family is linked to heightened, South Africa’s Asset Forfeiture Unit was given the mandate to seize the family's property that is worth more than 250 million Rands. Most of the Guptas cars are part of the property that was seized. Other assets include; a helicopter, farms, and residences.
Where are the Guptas? This is a question that most people wish they could have answers to. The family has several corruption cases linked to them. One of the most heightened one links them to state capture. They are associated with influencing the appointments that the former president made during his tenure. They have also been linked with bribery as well as misuse of state property. There are claims that they are actively involved in 'the sale of South Africa'. Investigations about the Gupta South Africa corruption cases are still ongoing.