Eskom ‘misled’ treasury over multi-billion rand Gupta contract

Eskom appears to have misled national treasury about the quality of coal from a Gupta-owned coal mine in order to secure a R2.9-billion contract, the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture has heard.

On Monday, the inquiry — chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — continued with evidence from Gert Opperman, a coal supply unit manager at the power utility.

Opperman took over the management of the coal contract at Brakfontein colliery in Mpumalanga in April 2015.

The colliery was owned by the Gupta mining company Tegeta Exploration and Resources.

Opperman testified that in 2016 Eskom and Tegeta wanted to increase the amount of coal that Brakfontein supplied to Majuba power station.

Opperman previously testified that there had been problems with the quality of the coal from Brakfontein, which had a relatively high sulphur content.

He also testified that in 2015, he twice received phone calls from former Eskom executive Matshela Koko instructing him to accept the sub-standard coal that was not compliant with the contract.

At the coal face

In 2016 ,an area called “Brakfontein extension” — which was situated across the road from the established Brakfontein colliery — began to be mined.

Opperman told the Zondo commission, however, that the tests on the coal proved that it was of low quality. The results were shared with the commission.

In response to question by the evidence leader, Opperman confirmed that the power utility’s internal tests showed coal should not be relied on for any power station.

But Eskom — when writing to treasury for leave to increase its contract with Brakfontein in terms of securing additional coal at a cost of R2.9-billion (a 77.4% increase over the initial contract) — said the coal from the extension had in fact passed quality tests.

Opperman, who said he was not involved in talks or negotiations around the contract, said in his understanding the coal had not passed required quality tests.

He also told the commission that he and colleagues had in 2015 organised an audit for the quality of coal from Brakfontein, only to learn from his superiors that the audit had been cancelled. — Fin24

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Jan Cronje
Jan Cronje
Fin24 Journalist based in Cape Town.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

One Movie, Two Takes: Hustle

You don’t have to be a basketball fan to enjoy this new Netflix sports drama

WATCH LIVE: 200 Young South Africans 2022

M&G will showcase SA’s most versatile, innovative young professionals to inspire, ignite and prepare upcoming youth for a new world

Flying the flag for the youth

Emmy-nominated actress Thuso Mbedu credits inclusivity, equality, and sustainability to getting her career to where it is today. As a Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South African, the actress encourages the youth to collaborate for a better future

Banning abortion criminalises femininity as it does race and poverty

Unpacking the reversal of Roe v Wade and the ruling in Dobbs v Jackson reveals a pushback against gains made by women
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×