S. Africa’s Public Protector urged to include coal deals into Gupta family probe

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela should broaden her investigation into Indian Gupta family’s alleged “state capture” by including coal deals with electricity utility Eskom, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Sunday.

The dubious relationship between state-owned Eskom and Gupta-owned company, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, involves a string of contracts for the supply of coal, the DA claimed.

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According to the City Press, Tegeta Exploration and Resources was awarded an over 564-million-rand (38-million-U.S.-dollar) contract by Eskom for the supply of coal, in order to financially resuscitate the ailing private company. It is alleged that the contract significantly inflated the paying price for the coal provided — unduly benefiting the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma’s family which allegedly keeps close ties with the Guptas.

“It is highly suspicious that a company, that was just a few months ago projected to lose 100 million rands ( 6.6 million dollars) per month and placed in business rescue, has now been saved by a more than questionable contract with a state-owned company (Eskom),” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said.

This is yet another development in the string of “under the table” relations between the State, the Gupta family, and the Zuma family, claimed Maimane.

Maimane said, for the sake of completeness, the Public Protector’s investigation into the wealthy Gupta family and its relationship with Zuma ought to include the long-standing and complicated relationship between Gupta-owned companies and Eskom.

The Gupta family has been under fire for allegedly offering cabinet posts to members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), with the acknowledgement of Zuma.

On March 18, the DA called on Madonsela to launch an investigation into the alleged abuse of executive power by Zuma. Madonsela acceded to the request and launched her investigation shortly thereafter.

Both Zuma and the government have denied the allegations. The Gupta family labels the allegations as “a smear campaign” against the Guptas.

Editor: Mu Xuequan