Guptas respond to Africa Confidential Nenegate allegations


December 9th saw the firing of South Africa’s Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, which turned out to be catastrophic for the South African economy. Was the infamous ‘Nenegate’ saga, which saw the former minister replaced with relatively unknown, David Des van Rooyen, all part of the Guptas’ plans to become the main beneficiaries of the nuclear deal when nuclear energy comes into play?

That’s the allegations being made by the London-based Africa Confidential publication. John Battersby, a correspondent for Africa Confidential and former editor of Sunday Independent spoke to CNBC Africa from the UK.

A Gupta family spokesperson dismissed the allegations, saying they are “absolutely untrue”.


“The Gupta family has no association or relationship with Mohamed Bobat and Ian Whitley. We had no influence in the Nenegate saga. In terms of a nuclear energy, there are no nuclear contracts in place, nor any discussions about possible contracts.”


“At one level, obviously, business people lobby to get their business and there’s nothing to stop them from lobbying. Government is the highest authority in the land. I think the issue here is when that relationship between business and highly placed political connections becomes detrimental to the state is when questions start getting asked.”

–          John Battersby, correspondent for Africa Confidential

“What happened here is that on the ninth of December a decision was taken to fire a minister of finance, to replace him with another minister, which was clearly part of a connection between a group of people and the highest authority in the land, and it turned out to be catastrophic for the country.”

–          John Battersby, correspondent for Africa Confidential

“There has been earlier associations between Des van Rooyen, who was appointed by the president. There have been associations with the two advisers that were advising him. There were associations with both the Guptas and the presidency so it’s a question of what was being lobbied for.”

–          John Battersby, correspondent for Africa Confidential

“Clearly the Guptas, who already have a significant share of providing the coal stations with coal and with Denel, were now also looking to advance their uranium interests in uranium mining to provide a nuclear power station with uranium, which of course will be a huge, huge contract.”

John Battersby, correspondent for Africa Confidential.