File picture: Dean Hutton, Bloomberg

Johannesburg - A proposal by a company controlled by South African President Jacob Zuma’s son and the Gupta family to buy Optimum Coal Mine was recommended for approval by the country’s Competition Commission.

The Competition Commission recommended the approval of the deal by Tegeta Exploration and Resources, a company owned by Oakbay Investments and Mabengela Investments, which had been placed into bankruptcy protection by Glencore, the antitrust body said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday.

Oakbay Investments, owned by the Gupta family, controls Oakbay Resources & Energy. Mabengela, in which Zuma’s son Duduzane has a stake, also has an interest in the Shiva Uranium operation, which the Gupta family controls through Oakbay Resources. Duduzane Zuma and Gupta family members are directors of at least 11 of the same companies, publicly available documents show.

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Department of Mineral Resources spokesman Martin Madlala didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane met with Glencore Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg in Switzerland to advance the deal, he said in a February 8 interview. He denied giving Tegeta any preferential treatment, saying he was only trying to preserve jobs.

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