In his state of the nation speech, President Jacob Zuma emphasised that the government was about to embark on a programme of "radical economic transformation". Many are concerned that this programme includes Zuma’s removal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan — in response to yet another decree issued to Zuma by the Gupta family — after Gordhan presents the budget next week. The family’s rise to such prominence is astonishing. Over the past year, it has become apparent that it wields massive influence, with agents placed strategically throughout state and nonstate apparatuses. The Guptas came to public attention with increasing frequency from 2009. It was reported that they hijacked Zuma’s state visit to India in July 2010, allegedly playing gatekeepers for access to the president. They generously roped Zuma’s son Duduzane into their business, making the young man very rich very quickly. When they launched their newspaper, The New Age in September 2010, questions were raised about the...

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