Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba intends – in his personal capacity – to take legal action against Gupta brothers Atul and Ajay for their alleged racial slurs against black South Africans, Mashaba said on Sunday.
In a statement issued in his personal capacity, Mashaba said he had written an open letter on June 11 to National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams giving him 60 days to take action against the Guptas following revelations “of their corrupt activities and alleged racist behaviour towards black South Africans”.
To date, he had received no response from Abrahams or the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), which to him was clear that Abrahams did not regard the allegations against the Guptas as serious.
“I have therefore taken the decision to approach our courts with the intention of seeking legal recourse against the Gupta brothers Atul and Ajay for their alleged racial slurs against black South Africans,” Mashaba said.
“Recently, I had the opportunity to engage with past and present employees of Gupta TV [ANN7] who have relayed to me numerous accounts in which the station’s bosses allegedly uttered racial slurs against black employees and black South Africans in general.
“While these employees have requested, for now, that their identities remain protected from the media, they have indicated to me their willingness to come forward and relay their horrific accounts at the hands of the Guptas and their associates for the purpose of court action. They have also indicated the toxic work environment they experienced at the Midrand offices of Gupta TV,” Mashaba said.
This information was corroborated by journalist Rajesh Sundaram, a former editor at Gupta TV, whose account of discriminatory and unfair working conditions, mainly affecting young black employees as well as migrant Indian workers, was captured in his book “Indentured: Behind the Scenes at Gupta TV”.
“As a black South African, especially one that has endeavoured to excel through diligence and hard work, I cannot in all good conscience sit and watch as the Guptas would seek to demean our people.
“I would like to encourage all past employees of Gupta TV, all South Africans including those employed at the Gupta wedding held at Sun City, who suffered from racism and discrimination, to share their personal accounts via: email@example.com
“Following these submissions, I will instruct lawyers to assist the complainants to draw up the relevant affidavits. Thereafter, I will approach the Equality Court to ensure justice is done,” Mashaba said