Publisher: Penguin 2018
Licence To Loot is a fast-paced, hard-hitting investigation into parastatal looting, written by journalist Stephan Hofstatter. At the centre of the story is Eskom, the largest power utility in Africa, which could determine the success or failure of South Africa’s economy.
Hofstatter’s story begins in 2016, with the Guptas’ controversial purchase of Optimum coal mine and Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe’s key role in the deal. From there it takes the reader on a journey from secret meetings in London hotel rooms to a clandestinely purchased bolthole on a Dubai golf estate, uncovering the corrupt acquisition of a private jet along the way. From the diary entries of a Saxonwold security guard to first-hand accounts of backroom dealmaking, it traces the origins of a shadowy network between the Guptas and Eskom that ultimately allowed the family to extract billions of rands from the parastatal.
Licence To Loot reveals the complicated deals and machinations underpinning state capture and the subsequent ministerial and board appointments that ceded the control of the country’s parastatals, including Eskom, Transnet, SAA and Denel, to Gupta-linked moneymen.
The book is particularly relevant in the current political climate as it focuses on the impact of state capture, not just its origins, and takes the story beyond the Zuma presidency.