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Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe has called for urgent action to resolve the problems facing victims of state capture, particularly at Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines. The sale of Optimum Coal, which consists of the Optimum and Koornfontein coal mines, as well as their coal export allocations at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, considered a prize asset, was a central focus of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s “State of Capture” report. It showed how Eskom, SA’s largest state-owned company, essentially forced Glencore to sell the operation in 2016. Eskom then helped Tegeta Exploration & Resources, owned by the Gupta family, to acquire it in a sweetheart deal — ultimately at SA taxpayers’ expense. However, in the years that followed, the Gupta empire unravelled under immense pressure from civil society and opposition political parties. In 2018, Gupta-linked businesses had their bank accounts shut down and were thus unable to operate. The businesses, including Opti...

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