Wealthy Gupta family, which has been accused of holding undue political sway over President Jacob Zuma, said on Saturday it planned to dispose of all the stakes it holds in South African businesses before the end of the year
As a family, we now believe that the time is right for us to exit our shareholding of the South African businesses which we believe will benefit our existing employees,” the family said in a statement.
“As such, we announce today our intention to sell all of our shareholding in South Africa by the end of the year. We are already in discussions with several international prospective buyers,” the statement said.
South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog in July said it will receive additional funds to investigate whether Zuma allowed the family to make government appointments.
The prominent business family is accused of being behind Zuma’s abrupt sacking of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December, a move that rattled investor confidence and triggered calls for the president’s resignation.
The scandal surrounding the Guptas took a dramatic turn earlier this year after deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said the family had offered him his boss’s job.
Zuma has said that the Guptas are his friends, but denied doing anything improper. The Guptas have also denied making job offers to anyone in government.
South African markets were rattled again this week on news Nene’s replacement Pravin Gordhan had been summoned by an elite police unit over an investigation into a suspected rogue spy unit in the tax service.
The Gupta family’s assets in South Africa would include its holding company Oakbay Investments, which controls Johannesburg-listed Oakbay Resources. They also own the New Age newspaper and the ANN7 news network.