A South African man was so angry at spotting wanted businessman Ajay Gupta in Dubai, that he wanted to "tackle his head off his shoulders" – but didn't want to end up in jail, he told Times Select, repeating comments made to HuffPost early on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, businessman Justin van Pletzen approached Gupta in Dubai after spotting him outside the consulate at around 8am South African time. He asked Gupta when he would be returning to South Africa, where he is wanted by law enforcement for state capture-related allegations.
"The country is looking for you," he told Gupta.
Gupta replied, "They're not giving a reply. The day they give a reply, I'll go there."
Van Pletzen told Times Select that he was furious when he spotted the businessman and friend of the Zuma family.
"I wanted to tackle the head off his shoulders. But then I saw the bodyguard behind him and I thought to myself: If you tackle him you are going to get into big trouble, probably going to lose your job, probably going to go to jail. And I thought, just ask him the question. Ask him when he is going home to go face the music."
A colleague bet him R300 that the man he spotted outside the consulate was not Ajay Gupta.
"At the end of the day, I saw an opportunity. This man is accused of having robbed my country blind. And they are looking for him, and I wanted to make sure they know he is here and they send someone out here to come arrest his ass and take him home to answer questions," Van Pletzen told Times Select.
Gupta retreated to his R2-million Mercedes Benz S600 after the exchange.
Reacting to the sighting of Gupta, Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi told News24 that Gupta should "just hand himself over". He is considered a fugitive from the law and a warrant of arrest has been issued against him.
Responding to Gupta's words, that he would return when "they reply", Mulaudzi said,
"His [Gupta's] lawyers said they wanted us to tell them why we are looking for him, and we told them that the warrant of arrest is against Ajay and not them.
"We received a lot of tip-offs, and we have our eyes on the ground. It is up to investigations team how to pursue the matter."