Speaking to eNCA on Tuesday morning‚ Ramatlhodi detailed how Duduzane had asked him to meet Ajay Gupta‚ one of his business partners.
“One thing‚ since I became minister of mineral resources‚ the Guptas tried to have meetings with me. I refused those meetings. I simply told them to bug off‚” said Ramatlhodi‚ who was minerals minister from 26 May 2014 to 22 September 2015‚ according to a government profile.
Ramatlhodi was moved to the public service portfolio until he was axed in the president’s cabinet reshuffle in March.
When asked who was the messenger who tried to arrange the meetings‚ Ramatlhodi said: “Duduzane‚ the president’s son.”
Ramatlhodi said Duduzane first complained that he had heard rumours that Ramatlhodi was accusing him of being involved in crime.
“I told him that if you are involved in crime‚ I will call you as my son and ask why are you involved in crime‚” Ramatlhodi said.
Ramatlhodi said Duduzane suggested that the former minister should meet Ajay Gupta.
“I said no‚ why should I meet Ajay?”
Ramatlhodi said he had informed President Zuma of the meeting.
“I said I would report this back to his father (President Zuma) this discussion and I did that. I went back to the president and said I have had this discussion and that I refused to meet with this guy.”
Ramatlhodi said Zuma said “it’s okay‚ there is no problem”.
Ramatlhodi said there was no further request for a meeting with the Gupta family.
“The bottom line is I did not cooperate with the Guptas.”
Ramatlhodi was speaking to the TV station following explosive allegations revealed on Tuesday by the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism and published by Eyewitness News.
The allegations surfaced a day after Brian Molefe resumed his job as CEO of Eskom after a dispute over his multi-million rand “golden handshake”.
Ramatlhodi told amaBhungane that he was pressured to effectively blackmail Glencore‚ owner of the Optimum coal mine‚ which supplied coal to Eskom’s Hendrina power station.
Optimum was placed under business rescue after Molefe reportedly refused to renegotiate a coal supply contract and imposed a R2 billion penalty against the company.
Ramatlhodi said he would be willing to detail further related issues during a commission of inquiry‚ which was recommended by former public protector Thuli Madonsela after her investigation into state capture involving the Guptas‚ who are friends of the president and business partners of Duduzane. President Zuma has objected to Madonsela’s findings.
“There were other issues. I think if the proposed commission (of inquiry into state capture) comes‚ I might give more meat to (my claims).”
Ramatlhodi said he did not meet with the former public protector’s investigators during their investigation into allegations of undue influence held by the Gupta family last year as he was not well.
“I am prepared to speak under oath. There were other operational issues which would be better ventilated on a better platform. If there is an official platform which requires us to speak‚ I will speak‚” he said.
Eskom board spokesperson Khulani Qoma rubbished Ramatlhodi’s allegations‚ but the former minister told eNCA the meeting with Duduzane could be verified by his former director general and appointments secretary.
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE