Save South Africa says it is “shocking news” that Atul Gupta is in seventh position on the Sunday Times’ Rich List.
“For one man to have acquired so much wealth, so fast, is in itself very disturbing,” Save South Africa, a collective of organisations, civil society groups, business leaders and prominent individuals who aim to keep government accountable, said in a statement on Sunday.
“But when it is Atul Gupta, a man whose every business activity is being questioned because of corruption, money laundering and his penchant for peddling posts in public office, we really have to say: there is something fundamentally wrong.”
The rich list, published on Sunday, ranks the 200 richest South Africans based on, according to the publication, “the value of disclosed directors’ holdings in JSE-listed companies” between 1 December last year and 20 November this year.
Gupta is said to have amassed a personal wealth of R10bn.
In its statement on Sunday, Save South Africa asked President Jacob Zuma to stop “ducking and diving” in his appointment of a full judicial inquiry into the scale of state capture.
“Jacob Zuma … stands at the centre of not only the Guptas’ illicit economic empire, he actively facilitates it. He abuses our constitution; he consistently disrespects the rule of law, and involves members of his own family in the looting.”
Save South Africa also expressed concern at the decrease of black ownership in the economy. Black men occupied only 35 of the 200 positions on the rich list, with women claiming just seven.
“It is clear that, under Zuma’s watch, black ownership of the economy is shrinking and the entire black economic empowerment project has regressed,” Save South Africa said. “He must go.”
Meanwhile, South Africans took to Twitter on Sunday to express their surprise at Gupta’s appearance on the list.
“Atul Gupta, by all means must be using doom. No way u can be that rich and be black,” Team Pravin (@DanielSeremba) tweeted.
“I knew the corrupt Gupta family was rich but I had no idea #AtulGupta alone was worth R10 billion. EFF must confiscate without compensation,” said Babalo (@BabaloZAR).
“When you have a Blesser like Zuma anything can happen. Look at Atul Gupta he’s now a billionaire,” Lebogang Chilwane (@Lebo_chilwane) tweeted.