Just as the weekend was about to settle on our work-weary shoulders, the family posted their intentions to sue Gordhan for damages for launching a “severe and devastating onslaught” against their businesses.
The first question which surely must come to the fore is that the timing of this is an attempt to stonewall the minister’s application for a declaratory order that he had no powers to intervene between the Guptas and the banks and detailed 72 transactions through the family’s commercial accounts worth R6.8 billion, which had been flagged by the Financial Intelligence Centre as “suspicious”.
The legalistic toing and froing between the Guptas and the Treasury has, says Ronica Ragavan, CEO of the family’s primary commercial vehicle, Oakbay Investments, led to what amounts to a degradation of trust and severe financial loss.
It all might sound far removed from the lives of the average South African citizen; a war being waged over sums of money most of us can scarcely comprehend. But only 200 pages from former public prosecutor Thuli Madonsela’s 355-page State of Capture report has reached the public domain and the Guptas’ family lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, maintains a willingness to go before a judicial inquiry, saying the Guptas have not had the chance to present evidence refuting any claims against them.
The sticking point remains the report, which has still to be officially released, and interim reports remain basically meaningless without being fleshed out in the full context. But surely, this has gone on too long.