By BO Staff Writer
The Gupta family has now been cleared by over four entities of any wrong doing but you wouldn’t know this from the media reports. The big story over the weekend by the City Press revolved around the alleged Eskom untoward “bail out” of the Gupta family business. But, Eskom has issued two detailed statements which clear the Gupta family business, specifically Tegeta which is one of the coal suppliers to Eskom, of any wrong doing. The Eskom statements come at the backdrop of the Gupta family also being cleared by the African National Congress (ANC) NEC investigation which followed the alleged “state capture” rumors by the family.
It must be remembered that when the long term auditors of the family KPMG stopped their association with the family businesses, they made it clear that there was nothing wrong with the books of the Guptas, an assertion which was confirmed by the new auditors who undertook their own independent “due diligence” on the state of the finances of the business. As if that was not enough, even the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has come out and denied that there is any investigation against the Guptas. These facts make a fair reader to ask, why is the media spreading lies?
The stories by both the City Press and the Sunday Times are devoid of any factual truth. They are malicious and possibly illegal as well. The City Press was given clarifications by Eskom which showed that their story had no basis in fact. They ignored all that and continued to publish lies and fabrications. In their story, City Press essentially alleges that the Tegeta was given preferential treatment on the Arnot deal to offset the losses on the Andrina deal. The reader not familiar with the Eskom deal might not know that once the Guptas bought the Swiss company known as Optimum Coal, they continued to supply coal at R150 a ton as opposed to the R530 demanded by the Swiss company under threat of unleashing loadshedding. That is the Hendrina deal which continues until 2018. What happened in between is that Eskom needed more supplies for the Arnot power station, and the request was opened to other suppliers which included Tegeta. The quality of the coal is different from that which is required by the Hendrina station. Eskom explained in its statements that, the quality of the coal for this station is “export grade”.
Read the full City Press article here.
Deliberate omissions by the Media
City Press chose to lie openly by saying coal was ferried from 50km away to offset the loss making of the Optimum Coal deal. Eskom clarified to City Press in a statement that, “The Optimum Coal Mine provides two coal qualities to Eskom. The Optimum – Hendrina supply is a blended product of run-of-mine and washed product. This is supplied under the existing Optimum-Hendrina contract that expires in 2018.” Eskom was explicit that, “The second product from Optimum from their export mining compound. It is a higher quality coal and this is supplied to Arnot under the current short term agreement”.
The newspaper deliberately omitted the distinction between the coal supplied on Andrina and the one supplied to Arnot. Furthermore, City Press deliberately misinformed its readers by not disclosing that Tegeta was one of the seven suppliers for the short term contract named by Eskom. This shows that City Press has an agenda specifically against Tegeta because it’s partly owned by the Guptas. Eskom on Saturday issued a statement which made it clear that, “Eskom firmly rejects the suggestion that Tegeta was favoured or that due process was not followed”. But City Press is not interested in the truth, it’s only interested in the agenda to kick the Guptas out of the coal sector because white owned companies now feel the heat of competition.
The racism of the City Press report comes with how it does not believe that a black owned company can do better than a white owned business. White media asks, how did Tegeta turn around a loss making company which whites had given up on? Instead of praising Tegeta for business skills and innovation, they cast aspersion suggesting wrong doing. “If whites can’t do it, blacks can’t do it either” is the philosophy behind the City Press report, which the Sunday Times supports. Furthermore, in their campaign to destroy the Gupta family, City Press and Sunday Times failed to inform their readers that Eskom has declared that the deal with the Guptas has saved it R1 billion in 8 months. This is a big positive story, when Eskom saves money it means South Africans benefit. But such truth comes in the way of the agenda of the media.
The media is also silent about how Eskom explains that Tegeta has stepped in when there was a crisis at the Hendrina power station and has saved thousands of jobs. City Press furthermore withheld information to its readers which would have shown that in fact the deal they claim is bad, comes at a much lower cost for Eskom than the deal before, which was under Exxaro, which sold R1 132 per ton of coal, against the average of R500 by Tegeta. That is half the price the white companies use to demand, but such facts don’t support the campaign and are therefore suppressed.
The Gupta business tired of distortions has called on all the media houses to a live debate on their stories. None are willing to do so because a live debate wouldn’t allow for distortions. Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa has thrown the gauntlet and to date only Media24 has accepted the challenge to a live debate and the result is reveting TV and quite revealing on how the media is doing the bidding for white owned companies who are feeling the heat of the competitive edge of the Gupta owned companies. In the Media24 live interview, the public gets to learn a lot about selective reporting and the revelations that the media has ignored from the Eskom statement and the SARB. It would come as a big surprise to many readers that actually, Oakbay only supplies about 5% of the coal to Eskom. The other about 80% is supplied by white owned companies who are not being hounded by the media.
Watch the full interview with Nazeem Howa below:
The media has to be asked to explain why it is not interested in the 80% coal suppliers of Eskom. The reason is patent to all fair people. The troubles of Oakbay Investments started when they out smarted the Swiss giant Glencore and bought their ailing company which was trying to blackmail Eskom by withdrawing its coal with the hope of hitting South Africa with another outage and then to be able to name the price it wants to sell coal to Eskom which would have been outside the agreement it had. It was the foresight and courage of the Eskom CEO Brian Molefe who stopped the whole scheme and quickly put the Swiss giant on a back footing and was forced to sell their business called Optimal Coal to the Guptas. This has infuriated white business and had led to the political attack sponsored by white capital and the #GuptaMustGo campaign on the one hand and on the other the same white monopoly capital in competition with the Guptas has pressured the banks to close the accounts of the Gupta business. The media is not interested in the linkages including the serious impact on the 7500 workers and their families which comes to affecting over 50 000 people!
The renewed media attack on Oakbay seems to be linked with the realisation that the Guptas are turning around the loss making Optimum Coal. A few months ago the business was on its death bed but today has been removed from the ICU to the bitterness of white monopoly capital. This means Oakbay is establishing itself in the coal sector which is currently dominated by white owned companies. What is even more intriguing is that one of the companies which are major players in coal sector are those associated with Johann Rupert. Together with the companies linked to the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is a personal friend of Rupert, their companies have respectively milked over R8 billion from Eskom. Clearly Rupert and Ramaphosa are concerned that their milking cow is now doing business with companies which are not linked to white monopoly capital.
Given the lies written by the media against black companies and businesses, it makes sense that government should, without any further delay institute a media tribunal and criminalise lies and slander by the media. The South African media is no longer held accountable by media ethics, it has become peddlers of lies and distortion for narrow racist ends.
Read the full Eskom statement below: