Ramaphosa to respond to Glencore claims after Brian Molefe's state capture testimony
Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa will wait for former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe to conclude giving evidence at the commission of inquiry into state capture before responding to the damaging claims he made against him.
Evidence leader Pule Seleka told the commission on Wednesday that Ramaphosa has not responded to the rule 3.3 notice informing him about the allegations Molefe made against him during his time as Optimum Coal Holdings shareholder and chairperson, when the company was still owned by mining giant Glencore.
Ramaphosa later headed former president Jacob Zuma’s administration’s war room on Eskom’s troubles.
Seleka said he got a message from Ramaphosa’s office that they have decided to wait until Molefe has fully testified before filing his response.
”We haven’t received anything from the president yet,” he said.
During his testimony on Tuesday, Molefe’s advocate, Thabani Masuku, called on the commission to investigate the allegations made by his client, including why the penalties issued by Eskom to Optimum Coal for supplying substandard coal were not pursued by the power utility and why its officials were so lackadaisical in pursuing the state-owned entity’s interests.
The commission has also asked that the statement of a former senior Glencore official, who denied that Ramaphosa was ever Optimum Coal chairperson, to be resubmitted as an affidavit under oath.
Clinton Ephron, former chief executive of Glencore’s coal business in South Africa, director of both Optimum Coal Holdings and Optimum Coal Mine, told the commission that Ramaphosa had no direct involvement in the day-to-day operations of both companies in the period from 2012 to 2014 and never chaired both companies.
On Wednesday, Molefe said Ephron disputed that Ramaphosa was Optimum Coal chairperson when there is sufficient evidence that the president previously held this position.
However, Molefe submitted three news articles and a Johannesburg Stock Exchange news service announcement of Ramaphosa’s appointment as Optimum Coal chairperson.
He said he found it very strange that even Ephron’s first statement to the commission was not under oath.
Commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo asked that the announcement and articles referred to by Molefe be submitted as exhibits.
Justice Zondo cautioned that the commission cannot follow up everything as it does not have the time.
”We can’t follow up on things whose relevance and importance is not clear. The commission must be satisfied that we use the time that is left optimally,” he said.
Molefe said it would be interesting for the commission to find out if the matter of Glencore and its coal supply agreements with Eskom was ever discussed when Ramaphosa chaired the war room.
The former Transnet and Public Investment Corporation chief executive continues giving evidence on Wednesday afternoon.