Carol Paton Writer at Large

The state-owned enterprise (SOE) that won the option in February to acquire Optimum mine, formerly owned by the Gupta family, entered into the transaction without the knowledge of the Treasury or permission from the energy minister. Optimum, formerly owned by the Guptas’ mining company Tegeta, has been in business rescue for more than a year without any resolution, which has put the mine and employees who have not been paid since October 2018 at risk. The participation of SOEs in ambitious, rogue schemes that were not approved by the Treasury was one of the hallmarks of the state-capture project, and is partly responsible for leaving these entities in financial trouble. In February, the African Exploration Mining Finance Corporation (AEMFC), which is a subsidiary of the Central Energy Fund (CEF), announced it had been awarded a two-year mining contract under the supervision of the business rescue practitioners for which it would provide R1bn in postcommencement funding. The AEMFC-le...

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