The DA says it will question deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, over a reported dodgy coal deal between the Guptas and Eskom.
The Sunday Times reported that state-owned and state-controlled power utility, Eskom, ‘bent over backwards’ to ensure that the politically-connected Gupta family were awarded a coal deal to the value of R4 billion.
“It is incumbent on Cyril Ramaphosa, as head of government’s “war room” on the energy crisis, to provide a full and detailed explanation as to how this occurred under his watch,” said shadow minister of public enterprises, Natasha Mazzone.
“Gupta-owned company, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, astonishingly landed a R4-billion deal to supply Majuba power station in Mpumalanga with coal for the next 10 years, despite having been rejected since 2011, due to their poor standard of coal.
“The company was awarded the deal on its fifth attempt, after failing a coal quality test four times – at a cost of R100,000 per test to Eskom. After the deal was concluded, four senior employees were controversially suspended after they questioned the quality of the Gupta coal,” Mazzone said.
The analysis reports following the tests showed the coal to be supplied was ‘marginal’, raising questions as to why the coal was chosen over other options, the DA said.
“It is a well-known fact that the Gupta family has strong ties to the ANC, and President Jacob Zuma in particular. From the chartering of Gupta-owned aircrafts and the infamous ‘Guptagate’, to inflated expenditure by government on advertisements in the Gupta-owned newspaper The New Age, one thing is clear – the Guptas come first, and South Africa comes second,” Mazzone said.
The DA said it will be requesting answers to the following questions from Ramaphosa:
- How many contracts does Gupta-owned Company, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, have with Eskom;
- What is the nature, value and details of such contracts;
- Have all said contracts followed the prescribed tender process;
- If not, what are the reasons for deviation from the prescribed tender process;
- What other financial interests, directly and indirectly, do the Guptas have in Eskom.
“South Africa has a right to be assured that every cent of public funds is spent to further the lives of every citizen,” it said.
On Sunday, Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa, told the Citizen, that the article in the Times was “poorly researched, factually bankrupt story and editor’s comment”.
“It claims we are supplying Eskom with sub-standard coal – again, the daily testing at Eskom-controlled labs will prove this to be untrue. The discrepancy in quality only came up in August 2015, despite daily testing,” he said.
He said that Oakbay Investments, the family’s (Gupta) primary vehicle, holds less than 50% of the shareholding in Tegeta.