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'Gupta scandal, state capture are symptoms of the state of public institutions'

The council has set up a panel for citizens to unburden themselves of their experience of corruption.

FILE: Atul Gupta. Picture: Atul Gupta Kumar/Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Council of Churches says the recent revelations around the Gupta family and allegations of state capture is a climatic symptom of what is occurring at all public institutions.

The council of churches today launched its plans for the "South Africa we pray for" campaign announced last year which aims to, among other goals, anchor the country's democracy.

The council has set up a panel led by the churches and including retired members from the Independent Electoral Commission and Constitutional Court for the ordinary South African to unburden themselves of their experience of corruption.

Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana says it's a safe space for South Africans to share what they need, even anonymously.

"Play an act towards anchoring democracy where corruption, maladministration and public trust is interrogated to promote a functional and transparent democracy. That's what we are about."

OAKBAY DOES DAMAGE CONTROL

While there are still conflicting reports about the whereabouts of Gupta brothers Atul and Ajay, their company Oakbay Investments will begin doing damage control to restore relationships with banks that have withdrawn their services.

Three banks have given the company until the end of May to make alternative plans before all ties are cut and their accounts are closed.

Oakbay has been at the receiving end of drastic action by key financial role-players including KPMG and FNB following numerous allegations of state capture made against the Gupta family.

CEO Nazeem Howa denied allegations that the two brothers, who resigned from the company last week, have fled the country after unfavourable talks with shareholders.

Talks are expected to take place this week between Oakbay Investments and four banks, to undo the damage of continued allegations of state interference leveled against the Guptas.

Investment risk analyst Daryl Ducasse says whether or not the Gupta brothers have left South Africa, it's unlikely they'll put the future of the company at risk.

"Large portions of shares that are put on the market for sale will probably do the share price no good. I don't see them doing that."

The family has been accused of wielding undue political power through its relationship with President Jacob Zuma.

Additional reporting by Dineo Bendile.