Today's Labour News

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coalTimes Select writes that over two years the Gupta family, through its network of companies, “stripped” its largest mining asset of at least R3-billion in cash from profits.  The money was allegedly spirited out of the country almost as soon as it was paid.  

According to business rescue practitioners there is “no evidence” that roughly R3-billion in profits were recapitalised back into the mine, while essential mining equipment fell into disrepair and critical protective clothing for mineworkers ran out.  According to joint business rescue practitioner (BRP) Louis Klopper, the mine itself is in such disrepair, it would cost roughly R400-million to get it fully operational again.  Gupta-owned Tegeta failed to meet coal supply targets to Eskom nearly every month since the Gupta family bought the mine.  But the mine did export more than four million tons of coal from April 2016, at an estimated value of R4-billion.  “The sales are there, but where is the cash?” Klopper asked, adding that auditors were looking into the missing funds.  When Klopper was appointed in February this year he found a multibillion-rand coal mine with next to no funds in its bank account.  More than 2,000 mineworkers at Optimum went on strike for nearly a month after they were not paid their February salaries.  Machinery had been stripped to fix other broken equipment, a supervisor revealed.  “We have zero compared to when we started. They stripped a lot of it,” a production supervisor said, going on to state:  “Safety equipment like overalls, it’s been two weeks, we don’t have any of it.  No hard hats or boots.”

  • Read this report by Kyle Cowan in full at Times Select (paywall access)

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