Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane on Friday said former Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi’s claims that he was placed under pressure by the parastatal to carry out certain decisions were “barefaced lies”.
Earlier this week, Ramatlhodi said Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and Ngubane had, in 2015, asked him to suspend Glencore's mining licences to put pressure on the commodities firm to sell a coal mine to a company owned by the Gupta family.
Glencore in 2015 placed its Optimum coal mine under protection from creditors and later did sell it to South Africa's Tegeta Exploration and Resources, a firm controlled by the Gupta brothers, who deny allegations they wield excessive influence over President Jacob Zuma.
Ngubane further said Ramathlodi’s claims could only be sustained by “unsuspecting or decidedly biased minds”.
“It is absolutely implausible to suggest that a sitting, senior Minister could have been bullied by the officials of a State entity. One would have to be extremely biased against Eskom to even remotely consider these allegations to be true given their ridiculous nature,” Ngubane said in a statement.
He questioned why the former Minister failed to raise this purported violation at the time of its alleged occurrence.
“Did he approach the media at the time it allegedly occurred? Did he report the matter to the police; if he did, what is his case number? Why has it only now become opportune to make these damaging allegations?
“One would have expected that a genuine moralist, which he claims to be, would have brought these serious allegations to the attention of the police and/or the media instantly. Genuine moralists do not hang their morality on convenience. This is evidently an opportune time for him to make the allegation and one can only wonder at his motive,” said Ngubane.
He further highlighted that, during his tenure as Minister, Ramatlhodi stated that he suspended Glencore Optimum’s licence as it did not conduct retrenchments properly. “At no point did he allude to us being the reason thereof.”