Eskom has slapped the Gupta-owned Optimum Coal Mine with R105 million penalty for defaulting on its contractual agreement.
Operations at the Mpumalanga mine have been halted due to a shut down by workers.
Approximately 2 000 miners demanded clarity on the future of the mine after the Bank of Baroda which was responsible for administering their salaries stopped doing business in South Africa. Workers are concerned they will not receive wages on Friday.
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe says the mine which supplies about 3.5 million tons of coal annually has admitted to experiencing operational difficulties.
They have written a letter to Eskom essentially declaring what they call a force majeure which basically means that they are finding it difficult for them to continue supplying us with coal. This follows yesterday's protests, but even before then they were beginning to default on their agreement with us.— Khulu Phasiwe, Eskom spokesperson
We have imposed a penalty to them of about R105 million and because of those dynamics and other factors, they have said to us that they are finding it difficult to operate but we will see because we continue to engage with them so that we can make sure they meet their obligations.— Khulu Phasiwe, Eskom spokesperson
The contract is expected to end this year.
Click on the link below to hear more from Phasiwe....