There was a time when the Guptas were considered by some business associates as “all icing, no cake”.

“They had a little Walker jet and insisted on keeping it, even though there was nothing in their company.” This titbit from a former associate dates back to 2007, not very long ago, when the family was still plotting their foray into SA Inc.

By 2009 Jacob Zuma was president and the Guptas seemingly got hold of the prized key to our government.

This week’s leaked Gupta emails have reinforced the belief that our institutions are compromised at the expense of South Africa.

Although those implicated will question the authenticity of the leak, said to contain some 200 000 emails, it is impossible to disregard elements indicating overt criminal action.

The plan for Zuma to make Dubai his second home is not nearly as damning as the extensive details showing that his son, Duduzane, was a kept man courtesy of the Guptas, who bankrolled his lifestyle.

Said the former associate: “An old friend of [Duduzane] tried to say hello in a restaurant once. He was in the company of Tony Gupta, who seemed unimpressed.