Six Indian-origin persons among top 100 South Africans

Five Indian-origin persons and the controversial Gupta family have been named in a list of 100 prominent people in South Africa by an influential daily here.

The list prepared by ‘The Star’, one of the oldest newspapers in the country, featured people in 10 categories.

Farouk Araie and Mohamed Saeed featured in the Letters category, Zakeeya Patel in Television,Imtiaz Sooliman in Heroes. Iqbal Surve in Business, and the Gupta family in the Newsmakers category.

The controversial Gupta family unwittingly achieved 3rd place in the Newsmakers category behind the late former President Nelson Mandela and the alleged killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by Oscar Pistorius, the world’s first double-amputee to participate in the able-bodied elections.

The Guptas arranged the biggest wedding ever in the country at Sun City for a daughter, and flew in a jet full of guests from India to the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria, allegedly with permission from President Jacob Zuma, said to be very close to the family.

An enquiry cleared Zuma and named two high-ranking officials as having allowed the illegal landing of the plane.

Prolific letter writer Araie headed his category for a letter decrying the continued racism after 19 years of democracy in South Africa, blaming it on economic deprivation of the masses.

Saeed was placed 4th for commenting on the civil war in Syria, describing the level of suffering, cruelty and violence as being beyond imagination.

Patel came 3rd in the Television category after she was named the first Indian-origin winner in the 6th South African edition of the series ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

Sooliman, founder of the internationally-renowned Gift of the Givers humanitarian and relief aid organisation, won 10th position in the Heroes category after intervention in Syria where volunteers and staff set up mobile clinics.

Surve was placed 9th in the business category after he successfully led a bid to buy out the Independent News and Media group, the oldest in the country, for R2 billion from Irish owners who had taken it over from locals some years earlier.