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Picket at Gupta compound fizzles out due to rain

A picket in protest against alleged corruption by the Gupta brothers ended prematurely on Friday due to bad weather.
A picket in protest against alleged corruption by the Gupta brothers ended prematurely on Friday due to bad weather.
Image: Nonkululeko Njilo

A picket in protest against alleged corruption by the Gupta brothers and to call for their extradition to SA “so they can face the law” ended prematurely on Friday due to bad weather.

The protest, staged by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Active Citizens Movement and Joburg Against Injustice, outside the Gupta compound in Saxonworld, Johannesburg, was attended by about only 50 people.  

One of the organisers, Ride Pillay, said the picket was a symbolic gesture to highlight the damage created by the brothers who were still walking free.

“The Guptas have stolen the money of tax payers, diminished our democracy, yet they are still free in another country and have not been brought to justice. We are calling on the government of this country to do everything in its power to bring the Guptas back so they can face the law,” said Pillay.

Pillay said several countries had taken action against the Guptas and SA needed to follow suit as a “primary country involved”.   

The US recently imposed sanctions against the Guptas and their business associate businessman Salim Essa.

Meanwhile Sunny Morgan, of Johannesburg Against Injustice, described the picket as an “auspicious” occasion.  

“What we are here to say is that the evil that was perpetuated in the house behind us, took place under the previous regime. It was a sense of betrayal because what they did is they robbed SA of billions of rand. We are here to say nobody is immune to the law, they must be extradited to SA to stand trial and to repay the money that they looted from state coffers. They have done an injustice to SA in a very big way,” he told our sister publication TimesLIVE.  

The organisers were criticised by some for “hijacking” the Diwali celebrations, but they defended their reasons for holding it on the eve of the Hindu religious festival.  

“Our protest here today is not against Diwali or the celebration of it. It is to highlight the very values that Diwali inculcates, which the Guptas have perverted over the years,” read a statement.   

Morgan said the Guptas had, through invitations to politicians and important people, used Diwali to further its agenda.

“The Guptas have appropriated Diwali as one of the mechanisms for them to exert influence and we’re reclaiming from the today because the symbolism of Diwali is about the victory of good over evil and that is why we have chosen this particular day,” he said.  

The picketers called for the government to seize any assets of the Guptas and to freeze any banking accounts belonging to the brothers.   

One of the protesters, Khethiwe Marais, said she supported the call for the Guptas to be extradited to SA to face the law.

“I joined the protest to echo the sentiments behind the call for the Guptas' return and to pay back the public money they stole in this country, I believe in this cause and believe as a country we need to rally behind the cause.”

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