14/02/2017 10:02 SAST | Updated 14/02/2017 10:18 SAST

Guptas "Hijacked" Oppenheimer Plans To Build Luxury Airport Terminal

Oppenheimer family takes Home Affairs to court over their application was rejection


Mining magnate dynasty, the Oppenheimers, have claimed that the Guptas have been involved in attempts to "hijack" plans to build a luxury airport terminal at OR Tambo airport, Business Day reported on Tuesday.

The Oppenheimer's aviation firm, Fireblade, has reportedly filed papers in court asking for a review of home affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba's rejection of their application.

According to Business Day, Fireblade director Robbie Irons alleged in court papers that the Guptas had interfered to stop the Oppenheimer's bid.

Allegedly, during a flight from Moscow to Johannesburg in 2015, Rajesh Gupta asked one of his pilots to send a message to Fireblade that it needed a new BEE partner, to be given the nod by the Gupta family, if it wanted Gupta to approve the bid.

Queries from Business Day were referred to the Gupta family's public relations firm, Bell Pottinger, who reportedly did not respond to allegations by the time of going to print.

In responding papers, Gigaba reportedly said it was beyond his powers to approve a new port of entry for private use.

"I would have considered the same whether it had come from the Oppenheimers, the Guptas or any other family," Gigaba reportedly said.

He reportedly accused the Oppenheimers of "harassing" him about their application.

The Oppenheimers reportedly countered that they were not asking for him to designate a new port of entry. Fireblade just wanted "ad hoc international customs and immigration services to be rendered by government officials at its terminal," Business Day reported.