The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) is shocked by former mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi’s allegation that Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and chairperson Ben Ngubane tried to pressure him to help the Guptas take over Glencore’s Optimum coal mine in 2016.
“These latest revelations demonstrate dramatically how deep the rot of corruption has seeped into South African society,” the SA Federation of Trade Unions, led by former Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Ramatlhodi said he met Molefe and Ngubane in 2015, at the chairperson’s insistence, AmaBhungane reported on Tuesday.
They allegedly demanded that he suspend all of Glencore’s mining licences in South Africa, pending the payment of a R2.17-billion penalty, AmaBhungane reported.
Eskom imposed the penalty on Optimum for having supplied it with sub-standard coal.
“I said I’m not going to shut the mines,” Ramatlhodi told AmaBhungane.
He was concerned that closing 14 coal mines would have added to the load shedding crisis.
President Jacob Zuma removed him as mines minister shortly afterwards and moved him to the public service and administration portfolio. During his latest Cabinet reshuffle on March 30, Zuma removed Ramatlhodi from his Cabinet altogether.
Ramatlhodi was replaced by Mosebenzi Zwane, who allegedly had close ties to the Guptas and allegedly met Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg in Zurich to facilitate the sale of the mine to the Gupta’s Tegeta Exploration and Resources.
“It shows the extent to which President Zuma, other ministers, officials in state-owned enterprises and their cronies in the Gupta family have indulged in an orgy of looting of public resources and self-enrichment though the manipulation of tenders in both the state and state-owned enterprises,” Saftu said.
Saftu demanded the removal of the Eskom board and the Cabinet, and for Zuma to withdraw his court challenge to former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.
Zuma should instead implement the report’s central recommendation, which was to set up an independent commission to investigate and report on alleged state capture.