8 March 2018

South Africa: Parliament - Somewhat Unsurprisingly, Former Eskom Chair Ben Ngubane Denies Everything

analysis

The devastation that State Capture wreaks is illustrated by the Gupta-linked Tegeta acquisition of the Optimum coal mine. Former Eskom board chairperson Ben Ngubane claimed ignorance on Wednesday of how a coal pre-payment from the state-owned power utility's coffers was turned into a bank guarantee at the time of the mine's purchase. Upstairs from the parliamentary Eskom State Capture inquiry, the mineral resources committee was told of Optimum workers not being paid, the mine's R3-million debt to the local council, and its failure to honour social and labour plans. By MARIANNE MERTEN.

During Ben Ngubane's tenure as Eskom board chair, the board approved R1.86-billion and R659,558,079.38 coal pre-purchase agreements from Optimum on 8 December 2015 and in April 2016 respectively. This coincided with the Gupta-linked Tegeta's acquisition of Optimum mine from Glencore.

"It was indicated that with the funding of the pre-purchase of coal, Eskom was going to achieve a value benefit of R238.9-million. The motivation further indicated that the proceeds of the R1.86-billion prepayment of coal were to be used by OCM (Optimum Coal Mine) to extinguish existing liabilities to ensure that the business continues as a going concern," according to Ngubane's written statement to the parliamentary Eskom State...

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