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AmaBhungane: Former mining minister reveals "hijacking" of Optimum Mine

16 May 2017 8:43 AM
AmaBhungane had an exclusive interview with former mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi about how Guptas got Optimum mine.

AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism reports that former Mining Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has revealed new allegations that Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and chair Ben Ngubane pressed him to blackmail resources giant Glencore to ensure that the Gupta's take over Optimum mine.

AmaBhungane's Sam Sole says the Gupta's were pushing to buy Optimum mine in 2015, which was owned by Glencore at the time.

Glencore wanted to negotiate a new contract with Eskom.

In that process Eskom and Glencore had kind of reached an agreement, then Brian Molefe comes in and he stopped that process.

Sam Cole, amaBhungane investigative journalist

He put the squeeze on Glencore so that they eventually sell the mine to the Gupta's.

Sam Sole, amaBhungane investigative journalist

Sole explains that Molefe and Eskom then reinstated a R2.17-billion fine against Glencore.

Glencore had put the mine into business rescue - that's an alternative to business liquidation... so business rescue practitioners said no, take your R2 billion claim away.

Sam Sole, amaBhungane investigative journalist

He says Ramatlhodi, then minister of mineral resources, claims it was at this time when Ngubane and Molefe said to him he must suspend all Glencore's mining licenses in the country until the R2 billion is paid.

Ramatlhodi claims he said what other mines do supply Eskom, we are in the middle of load shedding... what's that gonna do to situation related to Eskom supply?

Sam Sole, amaBhungane investigative journalist

He says when he refused, Ben Ngubane said he will have to report this to the President. And Ramatlhodi said three weeks later when the President came back from China, he was fired [as the minister of mineral resources].

Sam Sole, amaBhungane investigative journalist

Listen to more revelations here...


16 May 2017 8:43 AM