The state has not been captured as much as it has been handed over, and the amount of sway and power that certain people have is mind-boggling – this, and more was revealed yesterday at a media briefing to launch the independent investigation report into the affairs of Gupta-linked Trillian Capital Partners.

The investigation into the company, which describes itself as a “meaningful enabler of public sector service delivery as well as a significant private sector financial services provider”, was conducted by Advocate Geoff Budlender on the instruction of Trillian Capital Partners chairperson Tokyo Sexwale.

Sexwale made it clear that the investigation was not yet complete and that the report was a work in progress, because of obstacles encountered in obtaining the full scope of information required.

In the report, Budlender claims that the management of Trillian Capital Partners, including CEO Eric Wood, “obstructed” his attempt to carry out a proper investigation into state capture allegations.

“They have refused, despite repeated requests and despite undertakings which they have given, to provide me with the documents and information I required,” Budlender wrote. “The conduct of Trillian management in this inquiry has left me with the impression that what it says cannot be trusted.”

Read the full report.

Dodgy dealings and questionable associations

Trillian Capital Partners is part of the larger Trillian Group‚ whose majority shareholding is held by Trillian Holdings‚ in turn whose sole director is Gupta associate Salim Essa, the majority shareholder. The controversial Gupta family does not own Trillian, but has been shown to be connected to Essa, who to date has refused to meet with Sexwale. “The company is trapped in the difficulties of that shareholder,” said Sexwale.

Trillian came under scrutiny last year when it came to light, through a whistleblower, that senior staff in the company, including Wood, had known about the imminent replacement in December 2015 of respected former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene with the little-known David van Rooyen before it happened. Wood, who hit back at the whistleblower, describing her as a “disaffected employee” and fraudster who had stolen confidential company information, was said by Sexwale at yesterday’s media briefing to be a good man who was “caught in the crossfire” and “shook hands with the wrong people”.

Sexwale also asked the media to spare the company’s employees, saying that they were innocent parties in the scandal.

Budlender wrote that Trillian’s denial of links to the Guptas was “dishonest”.

“The connections between Mr Essa [Trillian’s majority shareholder] and the Guptas must be known to the leadership of Trillian‚ as it is known to anyone in South Africa who reads a newspaper‚” he wrote.

The release of the report was Sexwale’s last act as Trillian chairperson – he stepped down at the end of June.

State capture and corruption are destroying the country

The meeting at which Trillion senior staff were briefed by Wood on the Van Rooyen replacement for Nene allegedly took place in October 2015. Nene was replaced two months later. It was those allegations that prompted Sexwale to launch his own investigation.

“This corruption of state capture related [to] a particular family … is destroying my organisation,” Sexwale said. “This particular corruption is distancing the ANC from civil society and destroying the relationships of families. It has brought hatred.”

He added that nowhere else in the world have a single group of people ever had so much sway and power. “[The government] is not captured. It’s handed over, given to these people.”

No evading the evidence

In March 2016 former public protector Thuli Madonsela announced that she had been asked to probe the Guptas’ role in state capture. That report, titled State of Capture, was released in October 2016, and also mentioned Trillian as being implicated in the purchase of a coal mine bought by the Guptas.

Since then the South African Council of Churches has released a report in to state capture, based on its unburdening panel revelations, and the Public Affairs Research Institute released its report titled Betrayal of the Promise: How South Africa is being stolen.

The so-called Gupta Leaks is yet another blow for the state capture denialists, and new revelations are emerging on an almost daily basis. and a recent dossier compiled by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse also claims to be compelling motivation for the situation of state capture as observed by numerous others.

Image by DiscottOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link