‘Govt intervention in Oakbay-banks matter not an investigation’

Minister Jeff Radebe says the intervention is not an investigation but an information-seeking mission.

inister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, says the decision to deploy three ministers to meet with the country's four big banks over their decision to close the accounts of a Gupta family linked company does not amount to interference in their commercial decisions.

Radebe was peppered with questions from journalists after announcing the move while briefing on the outcome of last week's cabinet meeting this afternoon.

Cabinet's endorsed a decision to send in the ministers of finance, labour and mineral resources to try and find a lasting solution to the stand-off between the banks and Oakbay Investments.

Absa, FNB, Nedbank and standard bank as well as Sasfin and auditing firm KPMG have stopped services to the company, which holds assets for the Gupta family, including the new age newspaper, TV channel ANN7 and Sahara computers.

Minister Radebe says the intervention is not an investigation but an information-seeking mission.

He did not answer directly the question why Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who's allegedly closely linked to the Gupta family, is part of the team.

Radebe also denied it amounted to bullying the banks over their decision to cut ties with Oakbay Investments.

"Is it an interference with the banks? No. That is why the team of ministers will be interacting with the banks to find out the facts on this matter."

The minister says Cabinet believes the banks' decision might deter future investment in South Africa. He referred the question whether the Gupta linked company had asked the government to intervene to the ministers themselves.