DA blames Gupta’s troubled Optimum mine for load-shedding

Workers protested, burning tyres at the mine’s gate a week ago over unpaid wages stretching over months.

The Democratic Alliance says the State Capture by the Gupta family which got the Optimum Mine in Middelburg to the hands of the Guptas has really impacted on Eskom’s capacity to generate electricity.

The party on Friday described the mine as the “face of State Capture” and said had it not been for it Eskom wouldn’t be struggling with coal supply.

Eskom is reportedly having a serious coal shortage, with a number of power plants having few days of coal left.

The trouble faced by the Gupta mine are a result of the closure of their bank accounts by the four major banks after being accused of corruption, money-laundering and capturing the state, leading to them being unable to run their businesses, including the Optimum Coal Mine.

Leaders of the party including Mpumalanga Premier candidate Jane Sithole, Parliamentarian Natasha Mazzone and Geordin Hill-Lewis visited the mine last week Friday where workers had burnt tyres, protesting over unpaid wages which they said stretched over a period of several months.

Mazzone said the Gupta family through Tegeta Exploration and Resources which bought the mine from Glencore in 2016 “pillaged” the mine and “caused great havoc”.

“Workers have not been paid and the country is experiencing load-shedding because coal is not being mined. So we are here because Optimum Coal Mine is the very face of state capture,” Mazzone told the media.

She said what needed to happen now was for public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe to come together and “sort out this problem”.

“It is also of utmost importance that these rich fat cats are brought to book – they have been earning money while workers who have done their jobs diligently have not been paid,” she said.

“We cannot have poor families starving while these fat-cats prosper at their expense,” Mazzone said.

She said her party would raise the issue in Parliament.

She added the workers were bearing the brunt of state capture, something they have nothing to do with.

“We cannot allow those implicated in corruption get off scot free, whilst the victims of their crimes suffer in silence. We will absolutely raise this in Parliament, the DA is the voice of the people and we will represent those who are suffering as a result of state capture,” she said.

(edited by ZK)

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Vytjie Mentor says her safety is an “ongoing concern”

She had said very weird things while testifying at the State Capture Commission.

Former ANC member of Parliament Vytjie Mentor has told a national radio station she doesn’t feel safe at all.

Mentor, who concluded her two-day testimony at the commission on Wednesday this week, said she believed that commission Justice Raymond Zondo would take into consideration the issue of her safety.

She told PowerFM breakfast host Bob Mabena on Thursday morning that when she left the commission she had to drive “in a zigzag manner” to avoid possibly being followed.

“My safety is an ongoing concern,” she told Mabena.

“I am happy that the commission is aware of it,” Mentor said, adding she has taken extra personal measures to ensure she is safe.

“On Wednesday when I went to the airport, we had to drive in a zigzag manner to cut a tail if ever somebody was following us,” she said.

Mentor made some startling claims at the commission of her encounter with the Gupta family at their Saxonwold home in 2010 – in former President Jacob Zuma’s presence.

She told the commission that a heated disagreement began between herself and Ajay Gupta when she rejected their offer to make her the state enterprise minister following the sacking of Barbara Hogan who was state enterprise minister during a cabinet reshuffle.

The Gupta brother had wanted her to be minister in order to get rid of the SAA’s Johannesburg to Mumbai route in favour of their airliner JetAirways.

She said she had reported the matter to Gwede Mantashe who was ANC secretary at the time and Jessie Duarte, who she said was deputy secretary (sic) but both have rejected ever meeting with Mentor to discuss the Gupta matter.

The commission continues.

(edited by MLM)

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Mahlobo: ANC under serious attack

He said a ‘false ideology’ was being promoted amongst South Africans to get them to topple the ANC.

The African National Congress is currently under serious attack, its NEC member said.

David Mahlobo said those who were currently attacking the ANC were at the same time using certain ANC leaders to achieve this.

He said the first meeting discussing plans to remove the ANC from power was convened in mid-2000 after the ANC won the 1999 general elections with an overwhelming majority.

The second one occurred in 2005, convened by NGOs sponsored by what he called “monopoly capital” of the West.

Mahlobo was speaking during the elective congress of the ANC in the eHlanzeni region on Saturday night at Nutting House Lodge in Mbombela.

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“There are things that are happening in the ANC, in the country and in the world,” he said while on stage.

“We must speak about these things because if we don’t we will work with people that we are not supposed to work with. I want to tell you what are we dealing with, please comrades don’t record me in the newspapers,” Mahlobo said.

He said the 2000 conference was convened by a foreign non-profit organisation and professors from various South African universities and they met in the Eastern Cape under theme ‘Opposition in South Africa’.

“They met again in October 2005. This time they agreed on one theme, ‘Challenges to Democracy by One Party Dominance’,” Mahlobo told delegates.

“In 2005 this is after the ANC won the 2004 elections by an overwhelming majority. Every time we win they meet and discuss that the growth of the ANC is not right,” he said.

He said the outcomes of these two meetings resulted in something called ‘Collective for Democracy in the Republic of South Africa’.

“Here comrades it was a coalition of opposition parties who agreed that though their ideologies were different but we must unite and take out the ANC. They agreed to form a coalition of opposition,” said Mahlobo.

Mahlobo, who is also the country’s intelligence minister, spoke for close to 2 hours warning delegates about Western plots to remove the ANC from power.

He said those who wanted to topple the ANC based their narrative on a ‘false ideology’ of corruption, similar to the one applied when taking out Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power.

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He also said there were others inside the ANC who were working with the West and were paid in dollars and “another said he would stand for presidency even though he knew he would lose just to impress his masters”.

He said those ANC individuals who were hired to effect regime change programmes were scared of raising the issues they were raising inside ANC gatherings and “others we sit with in NEC meetings but they continue to tell the public there’s no direction in the ANC”.

Mahlobo asked journalists to not quote him as a minister when he addressed ANC gatherings.

eHlanzeni ANC chairman Ngrayi Ngwenya was re-elected as well as secretary Phazamisa Mathe and treasurer Momotho Thumbathi.

Sibusiso Mathonsi and Nathaniel Mashile also retained their seats as deputy chairman and deputy secretary respectively.

(edited by MLM)

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