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Guptas vs Sunday Times – Oakbay director Howa protesteth too much
South Africa’s leading weekend newspaper, the Sunday Times, laid into the Gupta family laid into the Gupta family over the weekend. But this time instead of threatening to sue, the politically connected Indian immigrants set former Independent Newspapers Gauteng MD Nazeem Howa onto the newspaper. Howa, now entrenched as a Gupta lieutenant, spoke in his capacity as a director of Gupta flagship, JSE-listed Oakbay Resources, a resuscitation of the bankrupt Uranium One. The family controlled Oakbay is a thinly traded stock with trading turnover in 2015 just R613,000 in total. Its inflated share price translates into market capitalisation of a staggering R24bn – not since Tigon has the JSE hosted such an unrealistic valuation of a single name. Last month in a Mugabe-like move, respected miner George vd Merwe was replaced as CEO by one Varun Gupta, nattily dressed nephew of family patriarch Atul. Whatever credibility Howa’s other arguments may have, in the light of this appointment you have to chuckle at the final para in the News24 piece below. My experience around the influence which the Gupta family has over President Jacob Zuma suggests the Sunday Times has hit rather raw and very real nerves. Because until now, Atul and his crew have rarely bothered responding to criticism SA’s free media is certain to level at any suddenly fabulously wealthy, very politically-connected family. Especially when the family shamelessly applies its influence to its own advantage. – Alec Hogg
By Jeff Wicks, News24
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