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Zuma with Atul Gupta. Source: Twitter @rdm_za.

An open letter from Oakbay employees to the chief executive officers of ABSA, FNB, Standard Bank and Nedbank was sent on Tuesday pleading with the banks to reopen their accounts before the end of May… or Oakbay’s business will close. The workers say they have done nothing wrong and “how will we feed our families?”

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President Jacob Zuma with Atul Gupta who has since issued a statement saying he has quit Oakbay. Source: Twitter @rdm_za.

The letter, under the heading ‘Impassioned Plea from Oakbay Employees – Please Save Our Jobs’, was sent to ABSA’s Maria Ramos, FNB’s Jacques Celliers, Ben Kruger from Standard Bank and Michael Brown from Nedbank.

The full letter, addressed to “Dear Maria, Jacques, Ben and Michael” is copied below:

“We are not rich people. We are not politically connected. We have not captured the state. We have never offered any politician a job.

“We do not know if any of the allegations against the Gupta family or Oakbay’s management are true. We do not care.

“All we care about is providing for our families. If you do not open Oakbay’s bank accounts we cannot be paid and Oakbay cannot pay its bills.

“If by the end of May the accounts remain closed, Oakbay’s businesses will close. That means that thousands of us will be without a job.

“How will we pay our bills? How will we feed our families? You will not just be hurting us, but our children too. Must they go to school on an empty stomach? What happens when we cannot pay our rent or house bonds? Will our children have to live on the street?

“We urge you to recognise that your actions have a human cost. Only a few weeks ago the companies we worked for were profitable and our jobs secure. We do not understand why we have become the victims in a political game.

“Please reopen the bank accounts so that we do not have to suffer. We, the employees, have not done anything wrong.

“We humbly ask you to hear our message.”

The letter is signed by “Employee Representatives P. Mosomane and R. Russo”.

According to reports, the company has approximately 7,500 employees.

Oakbay’s auditor KPMG, the previously mentioned four banks and the company’s JSE sponsor Sasfin Capital all cut ties with the company in March. The Gupta brothers publically quit Oakbay a fortnight ago and have allegedly left the country.