Featured Image: Hendrina power station and Tegeta director Nazeem Howa. Photo: Sunday Times
By Andile Mngxitama
Almost nine million people are unemployed in South Africa today. There is also no indication that this situation is going to improve anytime soon. To this end the economy is headed towards an official recession with negative growth resulting from the neo-liberal policies imposed by the Rating Agencies and managed by the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan. Whilst most major sectors are bleeding jobs, and mining being the biggest culprit contributing to economic contraction, the Gupta linked Tegeta Exploration and Resources which bought the loss-making Optimum Coal has in fact saved thousands of jobs.
The media’s negative campaign to bring down the Guptas is motivated by revenge for having out-smarted Glencore, the previous owners of Optimum Coal, by buying its loss-making assets and turning them around. The media has deliberately not reported how 3000 jobs were facing the chop at the Hendrina Power Station until Tegeta bought Optimum Coal and saved those jobs. The media has refused to listen to the reasoning of the Minister of Mining who has been concerned about the closure of mines and the consequent impact on jobs.
The white owned and captured media has focused on a disinformation campaign against Tegeta through primarily lying about the Eskom deal. The media has tried to sell the false narrative that Tegeta has been favoured and given “prepayments” as if this was a special and unusual occurrence. The fact is that white companies such as Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Exxarro have been beneficiaries of “prepayments” from Eskom for a long time. Recently these companies benefited from prepayments of up to an amount of R38 billion in total.
Instead of being praised for saving jobs, the Guptas are being hounded by the white owned media . Glencore had practically off-loaded Optimum Coal as loss-making and consequently put thousands of jobs on the line. Tegeta bought the mine and turned it around to a point of removing it from “business rescue”. This effort has been recognised by Eskom Board Chairman, Dr Ben Ngubane, who issued a statement last Saturday that included the recognition that; “Tegeta stepped in to avert a crisis at Hendrina Power Station by saving jobs and continues to supply Eskom at the original contracted price”. The number of jobs saved are about 3000 which translates to supporting more than 100 000 people.