JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) has called for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of the mineral resources department's Mpumalanga regional manager Aubrey Tshivhandekano on Thursday. 

The official was allegedly fired at the gates of the Koornfontein Colliery‚ owned by the Gupta-linked Tegeta Resources‚ as he was about to issue the mine a notice for non-compliance with its mining rights, Sanco national spokesman Jabu Mahlangu said on Sunday.

“We view the allegations of state capture and the purported involvement of [Mineral Resources] Minister Mosebenzi Zwane in the Tshivhandekano saga in a serious light,” he said.

Mahlangu called for a probe into allegations by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) that Zwane had issued instructions for Tshivhandekano to be fired to stop the issuance of the notice‚ which could have closed the colliery.

The NUM alleged that its members were present at a recent meeting between Tshivhandekano and a senior Tegeta manager at Optimum, who had threatened to contact Zwane to prevent the notice being issued.

“Minister Zwane and the director general Thabo Mokoena must answer to the allegations that the mineral resources department had stopped the issuing of the notices of non-compliance with mining right that Tshivhandekano was about to deliver at Tegeta Resources-owned Koornfontein and Optimum collieries,” he said.

The department's actions suggested that it had prioritised protecting the business interests of the Guptas as opposed to ensuring compliance with their mining rights. 

Mahlangu said government should protect its officials and be seen to be supportive against bullying by non-compliant mining houses. “No one must be victimised for standing up to irregularities and flagrant disregard of the law,” he said.

African News Agency/ANA