State Capture Inquiry Chairperson Judge Zondo. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Former chief executive of Glencore Plc, Clinton Ephron, is on Wednesday expected to present testimony to the Zondo commission about how the Gupta family bullied and ended one of the world's largest coal miners' business with Eskom.

In 2016, the Gupta family's Tegeta Resources bought Optimum Coal Mine from Glencore for R2.15 billion after Eskom extended a questionable R586 million prepayment for coal.  That was exactly the same amount Tegeta was short to complete its purchase the coal mine. 

The deal is believed to have been orchestrated by former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane just days after he was appointed by then president, Jacob Zuma, a close friend of the Gupta family. 

Optimum had been put on business rescue after Eskom imposed a R2.1 billion fine based on out of spec historic coal deliveries provided to Eskom. Optimum had a long-term coal contract with Eskom. 

The mine had a capacity to produce more than 200 000 tons of coal each month, but its contract with Eskom has allowed it to double the number to 470,000 tons per month.

Ephron is expected to reveal more about these details and how Eskom executives ensured that Glencore lost its business in favour of the Guptas. 

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Eskom executive Daniel Mashigo on Tuesday told the inquiry that the financial evaluation of Tegeta Resources was done "just to tick the box" after a multi-billion rand contract with Eskom had already been signed. 

In 2014, Eskom entered into a 10-year coal supply agreement worth R4.3 billion, with Tegeta Exploration and Resources to supply 50 percent of the coal at Majuba power station from its Brakfontein mine in Mpumalanga.

Mashigo, Eskom's acting senior general manager for primary energy division, said financial evaluation was one of the critical components when awarding a contract, such as ensuring an auto-mechanic sampler to oversee the quality of the coal supplied. 

He said that the financial assessment done on Tegeta showed that the company was not in the position to deliver to the set requirements of the contract. The coal supplied by Tegeta was also found to be substandard. The coal failed numerous quality assurance tests. 

African News Agency/ANA