Former Eskom board chair Ben Ngubane allegedly threatened to report then-mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi to then-president Jacob Zuma if he did not revoke Glencore’s mining licences in 2015.
When Ramatlhodi did not comply with Ngubane’s request‚ Zuma called him to Mahlamba Ndlopfu‚ his official residence in Pretoria‚ where Ramatlhodi was told he was being moved to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA).
In his testimony before the state capture inquiry on Wednesday‚ Ramatlhodi referred to a meeting that took place in 2015 between himself‚ then Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and Ngubane at the mineral resources ministry in Pretoria.
The meeting was called after Molefe refused to renegotiate the price of a long-term coal supply contract between Eskom and Glencore and instead reinstated a disputed R2.17bn penalty that Optimum Coal Holdings (owned by Glencore) allegedly owed for supplying sub-standard coal.
This forced Glencore to put Optimum into business rescue. The decision also came at a time when the Gupta family were actively lobbying for the purchase of Optimum.
In the meeting‚ Ngubane allegedly demanded that Ramatlhodi “take all the licences Glencore has”.
When the then-minister refused‚ Ngubane allegedly said he would report him to Zuma. Molefe was apparently silent during the meeting.
“[Ngubane] had descended into the arena. He was now chief executive officer in addition to being chairman of Eskom‚” Ramatlhodi said.
Zuma was on a state visit to China at the time of the meeting and when he returned “a week or so” later‚ Ramatlhodi was summoned to Mahlamba Ndlopfu.