ANC’s Mantashe slams “corrupt” Gupta coal deal, captured mining minister

As the cracks widen at the top of the ANC’s leadership structures, Gwede Mantashe has gone on the offensive – highlighting corruption within the ruling party to rally support from rural communities. Mantashe has clearly turned on President Jacob Zuma and friends, pointing out to ANC grassroots supporters that transferring wealth to the rich Gupta family, who are originally from India, is not what was intended by black economic empowerment laws. The ANC secretary-general unpacked Eskom’s controversial, complex and corruption-tainted coal deal with Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources for rural ANC supporters in the Eastern Cape at the weekend, IOL reports. Mantashe explained how mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane had been corrupt and said it is high time the ANC starts acknowledging corruption or it risks alienating many supporters. With moves afoot to push Mantashe aside, including the ugly spectre of crime charges against him for failing to report corruption to the authorities, the ANC secretary-general is under pressure. The battle for succession within the ANC is getting ugly. – Jackie Cameron

Staff writer

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has lashed out at Eskom, saying it does not take a rocket scientist to see that its transaction deal with the Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources was “corrupt”, reports IOL.

African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

“If you have read the public protector’s report you would see that the trip by Minister (of Mineral Resources) Mosebenzi Zwane to Switzerland to negotiate that the Optimum Colliery be given to Tegeta was corrupt and it is the ANC that should say so,” Mantashe is reported as telling ANC members at Ncumisa Khondlo Community Hall in Peddie, near Grahamstown, on Friday.

He was delivering a memorial lecture on the life and times of former ANC president Oliver Reginald Tambo.

Mantashe said he had no problem with the Gupta family doing business with people in South Africa “but there’s a problem when the wealth of our country is not benefiting black South Africans”.

“Also, I have a problem when the very same Gupta family dictates on what the state should be doing because by doing so they are abusing a power that is not theirs,” he said, according to IOL.

“Our wealth must benefit black South Africans if Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is in accordance with its formulation. You cannot take our wealth to Guptas and call that BEE. That is incorrect,” Mantashe said.

Also read: Gupta brothers respond: ‘We are not implicated in any wrong doing’ in #StateCaptureReport

According to IOL, Mantashe said it was also “worrying” that the organs of state were being used to fight political battles.

“That should worry us all, or else we will turn into a Mafia state. When there is corruption, the ANC must say so because if we fail to do that, we are going to lose the support of our people,” Mantashe is quoted as saying.

Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe, meanwhile, denied any corruption in the Eskom-Tegeta deal during a press conference, though he has been the laughing stock of the nation after hinting that he visited a shebeen in Saxonwold regularly – and not the Gupta family home.

Where did Zwane adviser get R10m for Tegeta deal?

By Pieter-Louis Myburgh and Angelique Serrao

Johannesburg – The special adviser to Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, whose company helped the Guptas buy Optimum Coal Holdings (OCH), wants to take the public protector’s “State of Capture” report on review.

Mosebenzi Zwane, South Africa's Minister of Mineral Resources. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Mosebenzi Zwane, South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

According the report, Albatime, a company of which Kubentheran Moodley is the sole director, contributed R10m toward the purchase of OCH by Tegeta Exploration and Resources – a Gupta-owned company – earlier this year. Moodley is a special adviser to Zwane.

Zwane is mentioned in the report because of the alleged role he played in convincing Glencore, OCH’s former owner, to sell the mine group to the Guptas.

Since the Guptas’ acquisition of OCH, the company’s mines have secured lucrative coal supply contracts from state-owned power utility Eskom. Eskom has come under fire for prepayments it made to Tegeta before receiving even an ounce of coal.

According to former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report, some R910m which Eskom paid Tegeta was channelled to the Guptas’ acquisition of OCH.

According to financial records contained in the report, Albatime was one of 18 companies that paid a total of R2.4bn into Tegeta’s accounts at the Bank of Baroda between December 2015 and April 2016.

Most of this money was used to fund the OCH transaction, which cost Tegeta R2.1bn.

Albatime’s role in Tegeta’s acquisition of OCH becomes doubly problematic considering the fact that Moodley’s wife, Devapushpum Viroshini Naidoo, was on Eskom’s tender committee at the time coal supply agreements between Eskom and Tegeta were discussed.

According to Madonsela’s report, though, Naidoo did declare her husband’s position as a “part-time adviser” to Zwane, and that she had been an employee of Albatime at some of the Eskom board meetings.

‘No money paid to Tegeta, Optimum’

Moodley said he was studying Madonsela’s report and would prepare an appropriate response in due course and in the correct forum, if necessary.

“To the extent that any wrongdoing has been imputed to me, I deny that this is the case and will deal with all allegations as aforesaid.”

He added that Albatime was never a shareholder of either Tegeta or OCH. The company never did work at Eskom and never paid money to either Tegeta or Optimum.

Naidoo told News24 that Madonsela never questioned her.

“She obviously spoke to Eskom, but I resigned from the Eskom board in July, so she should have contacted me directly. I would have gladly answered her questions.”

Naidoo denied that her husband’s company had any dealings with Tegeta.

“I don’t have shares in this company and I don’t have R10m to have bought any.

“This has been devastating to me as a professional and the report is inaccurate. Nobody wants to talk to me. It is so unfair. We are being judged by the whole country and it is untrue.”

Naidoo said she was looking forward to the inquiry into the report so she could give her side of the story.

Strange company

According to company records, one of Moodley’s former directors in Albatime is a company called “Green Bird Africa”, whose principal director, according to CIPC records, is a Nigerian national with a Master’s qualification in political science.

Another former Albatime director told News24 that he had been friends with Moodley and was asked to be a director of the company in case they decided to actively go into business together.

“As far as I know it was a shelf company. It never traded. It was set up as a vehicle in case we did decide to do business,” he said. He did not want to be named.

The man said that when the company was formed, they were all young and had lots of lofty ideas on what businesses to start. He moved away from the social group to start his own business and resigned as a director of Albatime.

It is not the first time that Moodley has been implicated in a questionable transaction.

The Sunday Times reported in August that Moodley stood to make R383m from a debt collection deal with the SABC. Moodley also allegedly played golf with Gupta-associate Salim Essa, according to the newspaper.

Internal SABC documents seen by the Sunday Times showed that acting SABC CEO James Aguma awarded the debt collection contract to Moodley’s company, LornaVision, without putting it out to tender. – News24