SO, ASKED the journalist of Oakbay, the listed vehicle of the Gupta family, is it true the minerals resources minister travelled to Switzerland when you negotiated there the R2.1bn purchase of the Optimum coal mine from Glencore?"Absolute rubbish," said the offended spokesperson for Oakbay, shocked that anyone would think such a thing."Yes he did," said the minister’s spokesman not long after, apparently unaware it was a secret.Evidently, when the Guptas said this week they would welcome a judicial inquiry into their ties with the Zuma administration, as suggested by a South African Communist Party leader, they had a special kind of inquiry in mind.In fact, not only was Mosebenzi Zwane at the discussions; he was, and remains, central to the acquisition and Glencore’s role in it.Thankfully, R2.1bn is still a lot of money, and as the Guptas plough ahead with the deal, a lot of people are asking the same core question: how will they pay for it? They’re rich, but not an easy R2bn rich.T...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now