A few hours before president Jacob Zuma unceremoniously resigned from office, the Hawks descended on the Gupta family’s Saxonwold compound. It was all over the news. In view of dozens of cameras, the Hawks arrested the Gupta brothers’ nephew Varun Gupta and associate Ashu Chawla in connection with the Estina dairy project scam. The pair would later join Oakbay CEO Ronica Ragavan, former Gupta lieutenant Nazeem Howa and Free State government officials in the dock. Those arrests followed a successful application by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for the freezing of R220m, which was described as the "proceeds of crime" linked to Estina. Was this a new dawn? Had the NPA, long derided as Zuma’s half-blind bulldog, suddenly grown teeth? Scandal-numbed South Africans, who’d watched the NPA’s disastrous bid to prosecute Zuma’s nemesis Pravin Gordhan on a baseless case, may have felt a glimmer of hope that the Gupta investigations heralded a new e...

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