Brian Molefe. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA
Brian Molefe. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA

Former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has accused Eskom CE Brian Molefe and chairman Ben Ngubane of helping the Gupta family "hijack" a coal mine.

The explosive allegations were revealed on Tuesday by the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism and published by Eyewitness News.

The allegations surface a day after Molefe resumed his job as CEO of the electricity utility after a dispute over his multi-million rand "golden handshake".

Ramatlhodi told amaBhungane that he was pressured into effectively blackmailing Glencore‚ owner of the Optimum coal mine that 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 R2bn penalty against the company.

SA was experiencing load shedding at the time. Ramatlhodi said he resisted pressure to suspend the company’s mining licences and soon afterwards was removed as minister and replaced by Mosebenzi Zwane.

Eskom board spokesperson Khulani Qoma denied the allegations‚ saying they were "devoid of logic‚ and all fair-minded citizens will find it impossible to believe it".

Molefe did not respond to questions about the claims or the fact that the State of Capture report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela put him‚ at the time‚ in regular contact with the Gupta family.

Molefe received a rousing welcome from employees as he reported for work on Monday.

The DA has filed an urgent application with the High Court in Pretoria in a bid to stop Molefe from resuming his role as CEO.

The ANC has also spoken out against Molefe’s return to Eskom. Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown was asked by the party to overturn the decision to reappoint him and dissolve the board.

TMG Digital

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