Business body Business Unity South Africa (Busa) on Friday welcomed the US Treasury announcement of sanctions against the wealthy fugitive Gupta family.
Yesterday the US Treasury sanctioned three members of the Gupta family, friends of former South African President Jacob Zuma who are accused of influence-peddling, and one of their business associate for their involvement in alleged corruption.
Busa president Sipho Pityana said slowly, but surely, the judicial noose was tightening around the grand masters of State capture.
“The Guptas have been doing their best to evade justice in South Africa. The Zondo Commission is making some inroads in addressing that, but the US Treasury decision is the sort of decisive action we all need. We are delighted at this news.”
Pityana added that the US sanctions were a clear indication that the Gupta family was at the heart of the most corrupt attack on South Africa’s sovereignty since the advent of democracy.
“We call on other countries to follow suit and ensure there is no place for the Guptas to hide either themselves or their ill-gotten gains.”
Pityana said it was significant that the US Treasury invoked a legal sanction imposed under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which is aimed at ensuring human rights accountability.
“The Global Magnitsky Act highlights the fact that corruption undermines the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure and functioning societies, has a devastating impact on individuals, weakens democratic institutions, degrades the rule of law and undermines economic markets.
“There can be no questioning that the biggest victims of the Guptas’ plundering of South Africa’s public purse are the poor. Because of the Guptas’ activities, as highlighted by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, millions of South Africans have been denied public funding for basic human rights and services such as water, sanitation, electricity, housing, education and health care,” he said.
Furthermore, Pityana highlighted that the Guptas and their political and financial networks in the country had also caused irreparable damage to vital State institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks and bled dry vital State assets such as Eskom and Transnet. He said it will take years, it not decades, to repair the damage.
Pityana added the civil society should feel vindicated for bringing to bear pressure over the years to curb the Guptas’ movements and their financial shenanigans and should feel vindicated.
In conclusion, Pityana said he hoped that more names would be added by the US Treasury.
“In so doing, it has reinforced local campaigns against corruption, bolstered the search for justice, and directly curbed the Guptas’ ability to continue with international money-laundering,” he said.