The billions were allegedly taken from budgets of various State-Owned Entities (SOEs) such as Eskom, SA Airways and Transnet, and left the country undetected in the past five years.
These shocking details were revealed by a group of academics and members of the SA Council of Churches to SACP members and their leaders during the communist party’s 14th national congress at the Birchwood Conference Centre, east of Johannesburg yesterday.
The revelations came as the SACP called for President Jacob Zuma to step down, following former Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report which placed Zuma at the forefront of the alleged “illicit business deals” with the Guptas.
Prof Ivor Chipkin of Wits University told SACP delegates that the partnership between certain government officials and the Guptas “began as a political project which started in good faith” in 2009 - to produce black industrialists to participate in the economy.
But troubles for the country began in 2010 and 2011, when certain public procurement projects did not meet the requirements of the law.
These laws became a threat to the Guptas and as a result there was a “growing assault and political attacks on the treasury”.
“There were also increasing moves to illegally reshuffle the cabinet,” Chipkin said.
He said all that was aimed at influencing the awarding of the R51 billion tender for the purchasing of locomotives for Transnet.
He claimed that some of cabinet’s decisions were taken either at Saxonwold, the Guptas homestead, or at a “kitchen cabinet”.
“Their decision would then be referred to the cabinet to rubber stamp”.