Eskom and the Guptas: Former Glencore CEO in the Zondo hot seat
Former Glencore chief executive officer Clinton Ephron appeared before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Wednesday, where he detailed Optimum Coal mine’s dealings with Eskom.
Renegotiating its contract
Ephron detailed how Optimum Coal mine, which supplies coal to the Hendrina power station in Mpumalanga, tried to renegotiate its contract with Eskom before the power utility was due to impose penalties on the company.
Ephron said he believed the negotiations were a success as an addendum was put in place that would see Eskom increase the price it would pay for Optimum's coal to the cost of its production.
Ephron told the commission that then acting Eskom head Brian Molefe had refused to renegotiate Eskom’s supply contract with Optimum Coal mine.
The former CEO recalled two meetings at which Molefe allegedly shut down any chances of renegotiating its coal supply contracts with the company.
Molefe, who headed up Eskom in 2015, dismissed renegotiation, despite lengthy talks between the power utility and Glencore in 2014.
Ephron told the commission how the Gupta family allegedly made three offers to buy Optimum Coal from Glencore.
The offers were allegedly put forward at a meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, in December 2015, allegedly facilitated by then minister of mineral resources Mosebenzi Zwane.
Ephron said Glencore received a letter from KPMG in July 2015 detailing the initial offer from one of its clients. Later, it was discovered that Gupta-owned company Oakbay was the client.