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How to Steal a Country

How to Steal a Country is the story of the Gupta family’s spectacular rise from flea market shoe salesmen to establishing a massive black owned business empire in South Africa. It runs as a suspenseful detective story uncovering one huge bribery scandal after another, involving the top echelons of political power and several well-known multinational corporations.


Date: 2019

Director: Rehad Desai, Co Director Mark Kaplan

Producers: Zivia Desai, Anita Khanna, Rehad Desai

Read more about the team here.


Our story begins by showing how the three Gupta brothers ensconce themselves with President Jacob Zuma, allowing them within 10 years of arriving from India to become multi-millionaires, primarily through lucrative state contracts.  They then buy an uranium mine, attracting the attention of British and US intelligence agencies. Next, the finance minister is fired, which we reveal is over his refusal to sign an irregular nuclear deal with Russia and several leading political figures go public, describing how the Gupta’s are directing critical government affairs. There’s a flurry of fake news, dodgy intelligence reports and attacks on journalists, in defence of ‘radical economic transformation’.

When a second ‘uncooperative’ finance minister is fired, his speech on the steps of the Treasury is the first time a senior member of the ANC appeals to the public to defend South Africa’s hard won democracy.

Then come the #GuptaLeaks, a trove of over 300,000 emails and documents akin to the Panama Papers, laying bare the modus operandi of the Guptas and their associates, more dangerous than anyone could have imagined. Taking us from one family, to a president, to a captured state, to the central role of unscrupulous multinationals, the escalating layers of this story unfold like a Shakespearean tragedy that will hold up a mirror to many countries facing similar circumstances today.

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