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Zwane on Ramatlhodi's Gupta claims: Revolutionaries can't be 'pressured'

May 16 2017 17:42
Liesl Peyper, Fin24

Cape Town - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said revolutionaries such as himself and his predecessor Ngoako Ramatlhodi cannot be “pressured” into doing something against their will. 

At a media briefing ahead of his budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday, Zwane was asked to comment on Ramatlhodi’s revelation to amaBhungane that during his term of office as mineral resources minister he was pressured by Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and chairperson Ben Ngubane to help the Guptas take over Glencore’s coal mine in 2016.

“I’m a revolutionary myself and we need to dispel this notion that we can be pressured into doing something. I take a conscious decision to do something. We are trained to take logical decisions – rightfully or wrongfully and we must own up to that,” Zwane said. 

READ: Ramatlhodi spills beans on how Molefe 'helped' Guptas 

Zwane said Ramatlhodi should be allowed to say whatever he wishes to say and to answer questions himself. “I request you to allow me to deal with departmental issues. I’m here as minister of mineral resources.” 

Ngoako Ramatlhodi revealed on Tuesday to eNCA how he was asked by the president’s son Duduzane Zuma to meet with Ajay Gupta, his business associate at Tegeta Exploration and Resources.

“I refused to have those meetings. I simply told them to back off,” Ramatlhodi told eNCA.

READ: Ramatlhodi: I told the Guptas to back off 

Ramatlhodi’s revelation comes weeks after he was sacked in a midnight Cabinet reshuffle when President Jacob Zuma replaced him with Faith Muthambi as minister of public service and administration on March 31 2017. He subsequently also resigned as an ANC MP. 

In September 2015, Ramatlhodi was unceremoniously replaced by Mosebenzi Zwane as mineral resources minister and moved to head up the department of public service and Administration. Zwane was the former MEC for agriculture in the Free State provincial government.

During his time as MEC, irregular payments were allegedly made to a Gupta-linked company for a Free State dairy project in Zwane’s home town of Vrede.

After his appointment as mineral resources minister, Zwane reportedly played an instrumental role in helping the Gupta family acquire Glencore's Optimum colliery.

In an interview in February last year, Zwane claimed he encouraged the Optimum acquisition in the hope of saving jobs. He said he flew to Switzerland and met Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg, with whom he discussed the deal. 

READ: Guptas have business link to Mines Minister Zwane

Zwane was mentioned in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report in which she said further investigation is required into whether Zuma sanctioned the actions of Zwane, who may have used “his official position of authority to unfairly and unduly influence a contract for a friend or in this instance his boss’s son at the expense of the state”.

Ramatlhodi in his revelations added that he was willing to divulge more information on a different platform, such as a judicial commission of inquiry as proposed by Madonsela in her State of Capture report. 

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