Zwane: SA still pursuing banks on Oakbay accounts closures

Government set up a team of ministers to resolve the standoff between banks and Oakbay Investments.

Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - The government will continue its efforts to resolve a stand-off between commercial banks and Oakbay Investments, the mines minister said on Friday.

Several companies, including all four major banks in South Africa, severed links with Oakbay Investments following allegations that its owners, the Gupta family, used their friendship with President Jacob Zuma to win political favours.

Barclays Africa's Absa, First National Bank (FNB), part of FirstRand, Standard Bank, Nedbank, investment bank Sasfin and the local unit of global auditors KPMG cut links with Oakbay in April.

Later that month the government set up a team of ministers to resolve the standoff between banks and Oakbay Investments.

"We are government, banks must actually realise that," mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane told reporters.

"We engage until we find a solution. We will continue pursuing them. Everybody including Oakbay must enjoy their equal rights," he said.

Zwane said some banks had responded to calls for engagement and some had not, but gave no details.

"We will continue pursuing this matter, even if it means government coming up with a state bank, we will do so," Zwane said without elaborating.

Zuma has acknowledged the Guptas are his friends, but denies anything improper. The Guptas, whose wide range of business interests include media and mining, also reject the allegations.