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Who met the Guptas has become the focus of the public narrative on the state capture investigation. The real issue, though, is not who met the Guptas, or how many times, or where. Rather, it is this: did the Guptas, with the help of Duduzane Zuma, try to capture the then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to do their bidding? And when that failed, did the Guptas orchestrate Nene’s dismissal (through then president Jacob Zuma) and his replacement with Des van Rooyen, who was more willing to do their bidding? And, looking wider, did similar activities take place in which officials were approached to make decisions that were unlawful or not in the public interest, but were favourable to Gupta-Zuma interests? If they refused to play along, were they then removed and replaced with more pliable people? The evidence of who met the Guptas is only relevant to the extent that it reveals interactions between the Gupta-Zuma grouping and people who exercised state power or would later be appointed i...

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