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‘The Guptas’ under target as South African opposition set to lay criminal charges

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Cape Town, SA: South African opposition, The Democratic Alliance (DA), threatened on Sunday to lay criminal charges against, ‘the Guptas’, an Indian family “for what now amounts to further prima facie evidence of an attempt to improperly benefit from public resources”.

This followed media reports on Sunday that former Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) CEO, Themba Maseko, was called by President Jacob Zuma prior to a meeting with the Gupta family from India in Johannesburg and asked to “help them”, Xinhua reported.

At the meeting, it is alleged that the Guptas wanted government advertising to be channelled to The New Age newspaper run by the Gupta family.

The DA said it will write to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to request her to include the latest shocking revelations by Maseko in her investigation into Zuma and the Guptagate scandal.

“This latest information regarding Gupta attempts to channel information to their newspaper may now explain why it is that the Department of Communications spent more than 10 million rands ($640,000) on advertising in The New Age in 2013/14. This amounts to 11.2 percent of government ad spend across 248 publications,” the DA claimed.

The party said it will continue to pursue all possible steps available to ensure that this attempt at “State Capture” by the Gupta family, aided and abetted by Zuma, is halted and justice is obtained.

The former chair of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Vytjie Mentor, publicly revealed recently that she was offered the job of Minister of Public Enterprises by the Guptas on conditions that she “drops the SAA (South African Airways) flight route to India and give to them”.

Mentor further alleged that Zuma was on the Guptas Saxonwold premises in Johannesburg at the time, in a room next door.

Mentor’s utterances have led to several African National Congress members speaking out on similar encounters with the Guptas, including Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramathlodi and former Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan.

A group of Catholic priests and brothers in Southern Africa, known as the Dominican Order, also requested the Public Protector to conduct a systemic investigation into the alleged involvement of the Gupta family in South African state affairs and the award of contracts to companies linked to the family. (IANS)

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Two Indian-origin women freedom activists awarded South Africa’s highest National Order awards

South African President Jacob Zuma, Wikimedia

Pretoria, 01 May, 2017: In a proud moment for India, two Indian-origin women freedom activists (Fatima Meer and Shantie Naidoo) were awarded South Africa’s highest National Order awards by the South-African President Jacob Zuma on 28 April, 2017 (Friday).

The Order of Luthuli in silver was posthumously received by Fatima Meer while Shantie Naidoo received the same award at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria.

Naidoo is a descendant of Thambi Naidoo, one of Gandhi’s most trusted lieutenants during his tenure in South Africa at the turn of the last century.

Shantie Naidoo joined 21 other people who were part of a group which suffered at the hands of the apartheid-era security police. The police tortured them and held them in solitary confinement. It is the same confinement from where Meer, a lifelong friend of the late Nelson Mandela together with her husband Ismail Meer, started her activist career as a high school student aged 17 in 1945.

At the time of Presidency Meer quoted, “The Indian community suffered the enactment of the first Segregation Act which restricted their economic and residential rights to specific areas in the country.”

Meer assembled high school students and established the ‘Students Passive Resistance Committee’ in order to canvass and raise funds for the Passive Resistance Campaign.

“The Indian community resisted by organising Satyagraha, the first since Gandhi’s Satyagraha at the close of the century,” Meer further continued.

Outshining as a historian and sociologist, Meer was a stimulating writer. Her writing masterpieces include Mandela’s biography and the script for Akbar Khan’s film ‘Taj Mahal’.

Her book ‘Portrait of Indian South Africans’ was published in 1969. Being a socially committed human, she donated the total proceeds of her book to the ‘Gandhi Settlement’ towards the building of the Gandhi Museum and Clinic at the ‘Phoenix Settlement’. Phoenix Settlement, an initiative by Gandhi is now managed and supervised by his granddaughter Ela Gandhi.

Meer passed away in 2010. Before her death, she served as a member of the parliament under the Presidentship of Mandela since 1994.

prepared by Himanshi Goyal of Newsgram