Oakbay not in position to comment on Optimum ‘hijack’ claim

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Oakbay not in position to comment on Optimum ‘hijack’ claim

Ernest Mabuza | 2017-05-16 16:58:46.0

File photo of an entrance to the Optimum Kwagga coal mine owned by Glencore near Hendrina in Mpumalanga province

An entrance to the Optimum Kwagga coal mine. File photo.

Image by: Siphiwe Sibeko
/

REUTERS

Oakbay Resources was not in a position to comment on allegations contained in an article titled “How Brian Molefe ‘helped’ hijack Optimum”.

The article‚ published on Tuesday in AmaBhungane‚ detailed claims by former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi‚ who reportedly said Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and chairman Ben Ngubane tried to force him to suspend the mining licences of coal supplier Glencore.

This was designed for Gupta-owned Oakbay Resources to buy the Optimum coal mine‚ which supplied coal to Eskom’s Hendrina power station.

Oakbay eventually bought the mine from Glencore in December 2015.

Ngubane has rejected the allegations made by Ramatlhodi.

Gert van der Merwe‚ attorney for Oakbay‚ said he knew nothing about the allegations made by Ramatlhodi.

“I have not received an instruction from my client to respond to these allegations‚” Van der Merwe said.

In the AmaBhungane article‚ Ramatlhodi said he met with Molefe and Ngubane at the latter’s insistence.

At the meeting‚ they allegedly demanded that he suspend all Glencore’s mining licences in South Africa‚ pending the payment of the R2.17-billion penalty.

The allegations from Ramatlhodi surfaced a day after Brian Molefe resumed his job as CEO of Eskom after a dispute over his multi-million rand “golden handshake”.

Ngubane denied allegations made by Ramatlhodi and said his claim was preposterous.

“He thinks something that’s impossible‚” Ngubane told journalists on Tuesday after speaking at the opening of African Utility Week at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

“We can’t instruct a minister what to do. We take our problems to the minister [and] we ask for help. For the minister to claim that we made him take a decision about something is preposterous.”

Molefe was scheduled to give a keynote address at the conference but cancelled.

The Democratic Alliance said the allegations made by Ramatlhodi were astounding and deserved a full scale investigation as part of the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom which the DA had requested.

The DA had already written to Parliament’s Chair of Chairs‚ Cedric Frolick‚ to ask that Parliament’s Public Enterprises committee launch a full-scale parliamentary inquiry into Eskom‚ without delay.

On Tuesday‚ the DA wrote to Frolick to urge that the “Ramatlhodi allegations” also be investigated in the course of the inquiry and that Mr Frolick urgently provide a timeline for the inquiry.



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