Contract to manage Gupta mines goes to Quinton van der Burgh’s company
Burgh Group Holdings launched, and later abandoned, a bid for Optimum’s Richards Bay allocation, but the business rescue practitioner says this contract is not connected to any acquisition
SA’s Burgh Group Holdings has won a temporary contract to keep mines linked to the Gupta family afloat.
Other parties offered financing but Burgh "came without conditions", Louis Klopper, a bankruptcy proceedings manager at Coronado Consulting Group, said on Wednesday.
He said Burgh was "an ideal partner" to provide technical expertise and banking facilities. He did not disclose financial terms.
Various Gupta businesses are struggling as banks shun them following allegations the family used ties to former President Jacob Zuma to win contracts.
Optimum Coal and six other companies were placed in business rescue in February and were unable to operate because India’s Bank of Baroda, the last lender in SA to have open accounts linked to the Guptas, was preparing to leave the country.
In 2016, Burgh, led by coal entrepreneur Quinton van der Burgh, was involved in an attempt to buy Optimum’s coal-mine export allocation — a stake in the Richards Bay Coal Terminal — from the Guptas, but the deal was abandoned last July.
In November 2016, former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report said Zuma may have breached the government’s code of ethics in his relationship with the Gupta family.
The former president and the Guptas deny any wrongdoing.
The present agreement with Burgh was for a maximum of 12 months and had no connection to any acquisition, Klopper said by phone.
"The sale of these assets to this group is not on the table, it is not in negotiation," he said.
Glencore is considering a bid for the Optimum mine, two people familiar with the matter said last month.
South African miners Exxaro Resources and Seriti Resources have also said they would consider buying some of the Gupta coal assets.
Klopper said the bankruptcy managers were obliged to publish a business rescue plan by April 23.