The revelations of so-called Gupta emails are a "calculated attempt to divert attention for corruption in Treasury under Pravin Gordhan", BLF leader Andile Mngxitama has claimed.
"These mad emails -- apparently there are 200,000 emails that I have written although I don't know where I got the time to do so -- have been fabricated to divert society's attention away from rampant corruption in Treasury to the value of R4 billion," he said.
Mngxitama, leader of the Black First Land First Movement, on Thursday was responding to leaked emails that suggested he asked for money from the Gupta family in 2016. He denied the allegations, calling the emails fake. He said the mails were part of a propaganda campaign by white-owned media and a broader co-ordinated attempt to "sanitise" white monopoly capital.
We told you about Mguptama. He issa junior captive of the Guptas, and like Collen Maine, he's handled by Nazeem Howa. Role: Chihuahua! https://t.co/J2N6xDayQG— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) May 31, 2017
Fake emails manufactured to divert attention from wmc corruption. They won't succeed. R4 billion is a lot of cash. https://t.co/RNGmQxNWF1— andile (@Mngxitama) June 1, 2017
Close to 200,000 emails obtained and currently under investigation by amaBhungane and Scorpio, the Daily Maverick's new investigative unit, provide the "most direct evidence yet" of the Guptas' close relationship with President Jacob Zuma and senior politicians. The emails, so far, have implicated state-owned enterprises including Eskom and Transnet in corrupt deals, as well as Duduzane Zuma, son of the president, in receiving huge benefits from the Guptas including trips around the world and an expensive apartment in Dubai.
Responding on Thursday to allegations of fabrication, amaBhungane investigative reporter Craig McKune told the SABC the "data dump is too big to fake", adding that thousands of documents in their possession "corroborate themselves".
'Co-ordinated networked plot'
The recent spate of emails allegedly revealing the Guptas close relations with politicians, along with collaborative research into state capture at public institutions and media coverage thereof, was reflective of a "co-ordinated network protecting white monopoly capital", he said.
"If you want to see white monopoly capital praying, look at the South African Council of Churches [SACC]. The SACC is bought," he said.
"The same goes for the university researchers. Look at someone like Chris Malikane, who speaks differently and provides an alternative point of view. He has been demonised. He hasn't been engaged. None of his -- in our view -- persuasive, well-considered propositions have been engaged. He's been tarnished and some even say he is a Gupta agent. Anyone who speaks against white monopoly capital is called a Gupta agent," he said.
'As far as the Guptas are capitalists, they're involved in exploitation'
On BLF's relationship with the Gupta family, beyond denying a request for funding in 2016, Mngxitama said: "If the Guptas have done something wrong, why is it that there are no cases against them?".
"Give us the evidence, we'll do it ourselves. This isn't happening. What is happening is that media propaganda and vendettas against Guptas are happening because they are the only faction of capital that is confronting white monopoly capital," he said.
He added that the Guptas "in so far as they are capitalists are surely involved in exploitation. To that extent we have a problem with them and we are very clear about this."
"All capital is parasitic," he said. "But the only reason for this media propaganda and vendetta against the Guptas is because they are the only faction of capital that is confronting white monopoly capital".
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend," he said, clarifying their position on the Gupta family.
'Gupta defenders have lost their PR campaign'
Responding to Mngxitama's claim that the focus on the Guptas is a co-ordinated diversionary tactic by white monopoly capital as it battles "an assault at the level of ideas and organising", amaBhungane's McKune said the "arguments about white monopoly capital are sounding thinner and thinner".
"White wealth is definitely a problem in South Africa and discussions around structural, racial inequality need to be mounted. These are absolutely missing from the public discourse. However, one of the reasons we spend all our time chasing after the Guptas and Zuma is because they are so obviously deep in this as a current, present threat," he said.
"We, of course, need to be analysing these problems, but these critics have an echo chamber that goes round and round. They've lost their PR campaign, they've lost their ideas, they have three or four paid heads and their bot army on Twitter isn't very functional anymore," McKune said.
In April this year, PR company Bell Pottinger cut ties with Gupta-owned company Oakbay Investments, the UK-based Financial Times reported. A host of Twitter bot accounts were believed to have been created to discredit and attack journalists writing about the family.
"They're chasing their own tales, let them," McKune said about the critics. "Hennie van Vurren has just published a massive exposé on white wealth -- Apartheid Guns and Money -- and we're not seeing these critics engaging closely with these researchers and bringing us real stories we can work with," he said.
Mngxitama said BLF "used Hennie's work before" and the organisation supports his research and findings.
"He has done absolutely fantastic work. He is fairly objective and should be a part of the extended judicial commission of inquiry into state capture," he said.
Repeatedly berating media coverage, Mngxitama added: "Nobody is calling for the banks and others involved in collusion to be brought to account, but the Guptas? They 'steal a cent' and the whole world goes crazy because white monopoly capital is scared."