The Emirates Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi where the Gupta family are reportedly hosting a lavish double wedding in February 2019.
The Guptas are reported to be hosting a lavish double wedding at a palatial hotel in Abu Dhabi.
The AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism published a nine-page wedding invitation on Friday and said the bash, an event lasting five days between February 19 and 23, could end up costing as much as R100m.
“The wedding is a double-feature, with Rajesh ‘Tony’ Gupta’s daughter Shubhangi Singhala marrying Chetan Jain and Atul Gupta’s son Srikant Singhala tying the knot with Akhya Bansal.
“This is the third publicly lavish wedding the family has funded,” said AmaBhungane.
The logos of Gupta companies in South Africa, including the Koornfontein mine where miners have gone unpaid, are featured in the wedding invitation.
The publication said a request for comment directed to a Gupta lawyer in South Africa went unanswered.
The Gupta family made headlines when they hosted the “wedding of the century” at Sun City in 2013.
More than 200 guests arrived in a passenger jet that landed without permission from the military at Waterkloof Air Force Base, one of the country’s national key points.
Vega Gupta married Aakash Jahajgarhia in a lavish wedding that raised questions about Zuma’s apparently cosy relationship with the wealthy Gupta family.
TimesLIVE reported in 2017 how invoices from the R30m bash, contained in a tranche of leaked e-mails‚ painted an astonishing picture of the family’s exorbitant sweet tooth. Hazelnut milk Lindor truffles alone set taxpayers back R13‚088.
The leaked e-mails revealed how the wedding was paid for with money funnelled from the Estina dairy project in the Free State to the UAE.
AmaBhungane said high-profile guests from around the world were expected to attend the latest wedding ceremonies at the Emirates Palace.
BusinessLIVE reported in October 2018 that Ajay Gupta‚ the eldest brother of the family that stands accused of being at the centre of state capture allegations‚ said the family had “never asked any minister for any commercial benefit”.
In an in-depth interview in Dubai with the New York Times‚ Gupta said he would testify at the Zondo commission into state capture‚ “but not at this moment”.
“I want to clear my name‚” he told the paper.
It was a dismal Christmas for thousands of coal miners in Mpumalanga in 2018 when the formerly Gupta-owned coal mines of Optimum and Koornfontein, now under business rescue, stopped paying workers and contractors in October last year.
When the formerly Gupta-owned mines were placed under business rescue in February last year, staff never knew from one day to the next whether they would be paid. When the salaries stopped coming in October, so too did their pensions and medical aid. Many workers have had to borrow from family members to pay lights and water. There were no presents for the children at Christmas and no books or uniforms at the start of the 2019 school year.
“Project Halo was assessed as the best bid on the table, and of course we want to wrap things up as fast as possible so workers can get paid, but unfortunately there is a process that must be followed and certain legal steps must be taken first,” says Louis Klopper, business rescue practitioner for eight Gupta companies (including Optimum and Koornfontein) placed under administration when the major commercial banks distanced themselves from the Guptas.
In a statement issued this week, Project Halo said a priority is to “get the workers to keep their jobs, provide backpay and generally get their morale back again”.
One of the stumbling blocks to wrapping up the deal is an outstanding R2-billion fine imposed by Eskom for the supply of sub-standard coal under previous management. Eskom itself faces dire cash flow problems and wants every rand it can lay its hands on. Optimum was a major supplier of coal to Eskom, but at a price that was below its production costs. Under business rescue, coal that previously went to Eskom was shipped abroad where prices are better. Another priority for Project Halo is to fix the relationship with Eskom and other clients.
While the business rescue process continues, miners have little option but to find ways to survive. So the feeding programme has stepped into higher gear, with many more farmers and companies coming on board in support. But it is still nowhere near enough to feed several thousand mouths.
The miners paint a bleak picture of life under the Guptas, confirming Klopper’s repeated claims that the Guptas stripped the mines of cash and endangered the lives of workers in the process. Miners were sent underground without proper safety gear. Money that was meant to go on equipment maintenance was diverted to Gupta-controlled accounts.
While the Gupta’s are planning a R100m double wedding, employees of coal mines of Optimum and Koornfontein are living in poverty. Loadshedding ( Black Outs/ Power Failures) is an ANC legacy which started when Ramaphosa was ANC Deputy President. Remember that when you vote on 8 May..
Sources: Times Live, Herald Live, News 24, Cape Independence
Sa- news team