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NUMSA demands nationalisation of Gupta companies to save jobs

NUMSA has advised the South African government to nationalize all companies owned by the Gupta family to save jobs of thousands of South Africans.

Last week, the lives of at least 7,500 workers and their families were plunged into uncertainty because Gupta-owned companies will lose the last remaining banking facility for their operations.

Oakbay Investments has approached the North Gauteng High Court to hear an urgent application requesting that their case against the Bank of Baroda be heard in October instead of December.

“The Gupta owned group of companies took the bank to court after it made the decision to shut down its banking facilities. The Bank of Baroda argued that it can no longer do business with Gupta owned companies because of the reputational harm associated with the family. This is because the politically connected Guptas are close associates of President Jacob Zuma and his family, and as a result of this relationship, they have been able to capture the state and influence it for their own personal benefit and enrichment,” NUMSA stated in a statement last week.

“This is a last ditch attempt by the company to stay in business after all four of South Africa’s major banks closed their bank accounts because of allegations of state capture. From the time that they used the military Waterkloof Airport as their personal landing strip, the Guptas have been associated with cronyism and corruption of the state. Last week the North Gauteng High court refused to grant them temporary relief, to prevent the Bank of Baroda from closing their bank accounts at the end of this month.”

The Bank of Baroda gave the Gupta owned companies until the end of September to remove their money from the bank, a move which ultimately led to job losses.

The Gupta-owned or linked companies which would be affected by the closures include Annex Distribution‚ Confident Concepts‚ Sahara Computers‚ VR Laser Services‚ Islandsite Investments 188‚ Koornfontein Mines‚ Oakbay Investments‚ Optimum Coal Mine‚ Shiva Uranium‚ Tegeta Exploration‚ Westdawn Investments‚ Idwala Coal‚ and Mabengela Investments.

“The Bank argued in court that as a result of doing business with Gupta owned companies, it had been fined millions by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) for various transgressions of banking legislation. The Gupta’s have said that the decision to close their accounts would render them incapable of conducting business or making payments to their suppliers. It may also lead to job losses.

At least 200 of our members at arms equipment company Lazer may lose their jobs if these Gupta owned firms are unable to do business and find banking facilities. The shop steward at the company reached out the NUMSA Central Committee to intervene because Lazer will be unable to trade and this would have disastrous consequences for workers and their families,” NUMSA stated. “NUMSA sympathises with the workers at all the affected Gupta owned companies. They are being punished for the sins of their bosses. They are casualties of the corrupt relationship between the state and the family and it is unfair that they should suffer the consequences. It is immoral that workers and their families risk being destitute because the Guptas were able to capture the state. NUMSA believes the Gupta family and their connections to the Zuma’s must be fully investigated and those who participated in the capture, including government officials must be prosecuted. The Gupta’s should no longer be allowed to benefit from the state. But workers and their families should not suffer because of decisions made by politicians.”

It stated that it was a fact that the phenomenon of state capture began long before the Guptas came on the scene.

“It occurred through the likes of the white old guard in the form of Johan Rupert, the Oppenheimers and other white monopoly capitalists, but even more so through international financiers and their economic police – the credit rating agencies. NUMSA is aware that there is a battle between these two corrupt capitalist factions in the ANC. One is represented by the Gupta family and the other is represented by white monopoly capital. These two factions have embraced the DA’s right wing economic policies and they have rejected the nationalization of the mines and the commanding heights of the economy. They will not drive a job led industrial strategy, but instead, they pursue a neo—liberal agenda designed to ensure that power relations between Black and White never change,” NUMSA stated. “That is why after 23 years of democracy, the super exploitation of Black and African labour which has been the historic social base of the racist colonial economy of South Africa, continues even after 1994. The ownership patterns of the South African economy continue to reflect the dominance of white people. There has been no program to transform the minerals energy and finance capital, and as a result, in South Africa, there is centralization and concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny white minority and a few co-opted black elites.”

 

It stated that NUMSA viewed both factions as equally reprehensible and corrupt. These two capitalist factions are directly responsible for destroying the capacity of the state.

 

“They imposed neo-liberal policies that are directly responsible for job losses and serious de-industrialisation. It is because of them that the working class is languishing under the burden of high unemployment, poverty and inequality. Therefore, part of the dilemma facing the working class is that the corruption we are battling against is not merely the moral fault of this or that faction within the capitalist class and its state, but rather the inherently structurally corrupt and rotten capitalist system as a whole, which we are committed to overthrowing and replacing with socialism. As NUMSA, we must take up the fight against corruption and reclaim all State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) and state institutions from this cancer,” stated NUMSA. “We repeat our call for government to reconstitute all SOE boards and that they should be represented by business, labour government and civil society. This is the only guarantee we have to uproot the dominant system of cronyism and corruption in the tendering system and ensure transparency. In fact, we want this government to rebuild the capacity of the state by banning the tendering system and rather, employing workers directly to build roads, schools, clinics and all the much needed infrastructure. In this way, the state will be the employer of last resort.  Zuma and the Guptas and Pravin Gordhan and the Ruperts are just one consequence of the ANC’s capitulation to racist and colonial capitalism in the negotiated settlement. They sold the dream of a racism-free, equal and just society and the full implementation of the Freedom Charter for a neoliberal capitalist society, complete with the corruption and inequality that comes with that package. That is why as NUMSA we are uncompromising in our pursuit of a Socialist agenda. We will not back either faction as that would be the ultimate betrayal to the working class.”

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