Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba’s full statement on his decision to pursue legal action against the Gupta family:
On the 11th of June 2018, I wrote an open letter to Adv. Shaun Abrahams, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, giving him 60 days to take swift action against the Gupta’s following revelations of their corrupt activities and alleged racist behaviour towards black South Africans.
To date, I have received no response from him or the National Prosecuting Authority. To me, it is clear that Adv. Abrahams does not regard the allegations against the Gupta’s 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.
Recently, I had the opportunity to engage with past and present employees of Gupta TV 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.
Whilst 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.
This information is 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, is captured in his book ‘Indentured: Behind the Scenes at Gupta TV’.
Mr Sundaram recounts the many demeaning references the Gupta brothers, Atul and Ajay, made of South Africans, especially as they related to our alleged laziness and corruptibility.
Moreover, during the now infamous Gupta wedding held at Sun City, it was well publicized in the media, at the time, that the Gupta’s and their associates treated the local staff with disdain and hurled racist insults at them.
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.
South Africa’s tragic history of racism and discrimination, especially against black people, demands that we all stand up and take action in defence of our collective humanity.
That is why, in 2015, when the racist Penny Sparrow referred to black Durban beach-goers as monkeys, I was the first to lay charges against her.
I feel compelled to take a similar action again.
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 protected]
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.
I intend to take on the Guptas to prove that, while they may have gotten away with insulting black people and remain unpunished due to their close proximity to former President Jacob Zuma, his son Duduzane and the ANC, I do not fear them.
I will meet them with all determination and resolve necessary to restore the dignity of our black people.
Mr Herman Mashaba
In his personal capacity