How to steal a country

Rehad Desai, South Africa, 2019

93 minutes, English with no subtitles

A journey into how investigative journalists uncovered the alleged corruption scandal surrounding former President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family. The 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. 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 marks 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, and 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


Rehad Desai is a former political exile from South Africa, who returned to his home country in 1990. Desai entered the television and film industry as a producer and director in 1996. In 1997 he completed his master’s degree in social history at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He then completed a postgraduate degree in television and film production through AVEA in 2000. He runs his own film and television company, Uhuru Productions, which produces documentary and dramatic works. He is also the director of the Tri-Continental Film Festival and is active in the self-organization of filmmakers.

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