By Phapano Phasha
Ngoako Ramatlhodi is indeed a brave man. To expose Brian Molefe and the Gupta Glencore deal, which he says led to his dismissal, is indeed bravery personified. But he is also a fraud. The Glencor, Optimum Coal deal, allowed the Gupta owned Tegeta to buy the Swiss owned Glencore in a space where Eskom was in a process of penalising Glencor and refusing to renegotiate the coal deal with it. Glencore was then bought out by Tegeta at a loss and Tegeta concluded a concessionary deal to sell coal to Eskom at a cheaper price whilst ensuring minimal black outs. Tegeta now owns 5% of Eskom shares but, as you would know, Tegeta got a prepayment to supply coal. Now lets go back to Ngoako Ramatlhodi who is indeed bold to speak out in a space where many have been decrying the issue of state capture. Ngoako Ramatlhodi has interests in a company called Lithemba Investments.
Now what is Lithemba Investments and what does it have to do with this post? Well, Lithemba Investments with Phamodzi Investments and WDB Trust (founded and chaired by Zanele Mbeki) are part of the coal consortium with Anglo Inyosi which is a subsidiary of Anglo American which in turn has a 73% stake of Anglo Inyosi – the biggest shareholder of coal in Eskom. It gets better. Ramatlhodi is also a blind shareholder in a company called Atlatsa Resources in which Anglo Platinum – yes another Anglo American subsidiary – holds 49% of Atlatsa shares.
Now guess when did Ngoako acquire the shares in Atlatsa Resources? Also, where does Atlatsa Resources extract its platinum from? Now before I answer these questions, let me give the context. When Ngoako was still Premier of Limpopo, Pelawan and Anglo Platinum started a platinum project in Limpopo. Some of the shareholders of Pelawan included a company called Legakabje Mining. Pelawan Mining & AngloPlats bought a Canadian company called Anoorak which opted to change its name to Atlatsa a few years ago. Now before Anoorak changed its name to Atlatsa, they bought a 51% stake in a company called Bokoni Mine, which was previously called Lebowa Platinum Mines, and 1% of Ga Phasha Project from Anglo Platinum as an official BEE partner. As a shareholder of Atlatsa, Ngoako opened up doors and enabled Anglo to entrench a monopoly of coal extraction in Limpopo and today Atlatsa is the third largest platinum extractor in the country. Tegeta through its acquisition of Glencore stepped into the terrain of an industry monopolised by whites (Exxaro, BHP Billiton, Anglo) which own more than 95% of the coal supply, and an industry which for years has sustained its coal supply on a cost plus contract just like Tegeta. For example, a prepaid payment was also given to Anglo, Exxaro and South 32 (formerly BHP Billiton); of which Exxaro was recently given a prepaid payment of R1.8bn for the establishment of a new mining shaft – a story you will not see in the media because the capital was given to a white owned company.
Ngoako is merely diverting us. This reflects how, within our ranks, our own comrades prefer to be proxies of white capital parading as defenders of good governance and accountability, yet in fact are against transformation. Why was Ngoako silent when a company he has shares in wanted to withdraw its supply of coal to Eskom, when Eskom insisted that black business must own at least 55% of coal supply? Ngoako Ramatlhodi is condemning 5% of shares which today he claims were acquired fraudulently, yet he remains silent on the 95% of shares in white hands protected by contracts which lapse in 40 years.
The ANC cannot be used as an instrument to advance the grotesque legacy of Oppenheimer and Rupert so as to ensure that the likes of Anglo and Remgro continue to own and control our country.