Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma’s closest political allies this week broke ranks with him over his close ties to the influential Guptas, in a move that has isolated Zuma and laid bare growing hostility in ANC circles to the family, the Sunday Times reported.
Although there had long been whispers about the family’s close ties to Zuma and some of his ministers, this week Cosatu and SACP leaders went public with their growing irritation at the influence the Guptas are said to have on some leaders, the newspaper reported on Sunday.
The latest development followed a visit to Zurich in December by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who met the CEO of the Glencore mining conglomerate in the Swiss city, apparently to help facilitate a deal for a Gupta-linked company to buy the distressed Optimum Colliery in Mpumalanga.
A week later, the sale of Optimum coal mine to the Gupta family was announced. The minister’s presence at the meeting was considered highly unusual, the Sunday Times reported.
Exxaro’s Arnot mine in Mpumalanga closed recently after the expiry of its coal-supply contract with Eskom. Eskom refused to renegotiate the R900 a ton contract, saying it was unaffordable. Eskom had also refused to renegotiate Glencore’s R150 a ton contract, which contributed to the company’s decision to sell its mine.
An executive at Glencore, who asked not to be named, said the company had been strong-armed into selling, the newspaper reported.