Gavin Craythorne of the Equitable Access Campaign gave testimony at the Zondo commission. Screengrab: SABC/YouTube
Gavin Craythorne of the Equitable Access Campaign gave testimony at the Zondo commission. Screengrab: SABC/YouTube

Parliament accused of failing to act during bid to thwart state capture

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Jan 12, 2021

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Johannesburg - A long-time contractor of Alexkor Mine in the Northern Cape has accused Parliament of doing nothing about his reports of the alleged capture of the state-owned Alexkor Mine by politicians and business elites.

This was the shocking testimony of Gavin Craythorne of the Equitable Access Campaign (EAC) during his testimony before the State Capture Commission of Inquiry headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Monday.

Craythorne told the commission that the capture of Alexkor began with the appointment of Malusi Gigaba as Public Enterprises Minister in 2010. He said Gigaba, since his appointment, had started propagating the diversification of Alexkor Mine into the coal sector in Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

According to Craythorne, Gigaba and the Alexkor Mine bosses expressed mixed feelings about the future of Alexkor, saying that the former minister claimed that Alexkor would retain its role in the diamond industry but would only venture into coal but said mine bosses sang a different tune.

“The mine bosses, particularly Alexkor Mine board chairperson Mervyn Cartens had on numerous occasions told parliament that in the next five to 10 years there would not be any diamonds to mine at Alexkor. They’ve misled Parliament.

“Alexkor Mine had in the past 100 years of existence only mined 10% of the mining assets. This was due to the lack of technology. Since the evolution of technology, more diamonds could be mined. Alexkor Mine is still a gem of diamonds in the world,” Craythorne said.

He said the Namibian government and De Beers were still extracting worthwhile diamonds between the borders of SA and Namibia, saying this was proof to him that the West Coast still had large deposits of diamonds. According to him, the diversification of Alexkor was to allow TransHex and De Beers to take control of the affairs of Alexkor, which would have excluded the residents of Alexander Bay and Richtersveld.

In his testimony, the alleged planned capture of the Alexkor Mine was contained in a QuestCo document allegedly authored by De Beers, TransHeX, Alexkor Mine board members and the Richtersveld Communal Property Association (CPA).

“I made reports to parliament about it and they did nothing. If parliament had done its job. I would not be sitting here,” Craythorne said

Political Bureau

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