Cape Town – The Department of Mineral Resources told Parliament on Wednesday that it would meet with the business rescue practitioners in charge of Tegeta’s mining operations next week, and later provide an update on the meeting.
This comes as the Bank of Baroda gave the South African Reserve Bank formal notification that it intends to exit South Africa. Its operations have been under business rescue, and the National Union of Mineworkers has expressed strong doubt about its the ability to pay salaries.
Business rescue practitioners Louis Klopper and Robert Knoop had to approach the courts in April to seek an interdict, after they were barred from accessing the Gupta-owned businesses after they started questioning a transaction involving Tegeta’s shares.
Ahead of his recent budget vote, Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan told reporters that during a site visit to Optimum Coal Mine he learned that conveyor belts had not be operating for months, all of this while Tegeta continued to get money from power utility Eskom.
Parliament’s portfolio committee on mineral resources quizzed the department’s delegation on the operations, legal status and ownership of the Tegeta mines. Director general Thabo Mokoena told the committee that the business rescue process is still on track, in their understanding.
“We will meet with the business rescue practitioners on June 5 to provide members with a comprehensive report on Tegeta mines. The minister is also interested in coming to the portfolio committee,” said Mokoena.
Committee members asked him if there was any chance that the business could wind up back in the hands of the Gupta family. He replied that the business rescue process the mines are subject to does not allow for this.
“If the old owners want to buy the mine back, they know full well that that is not possible, because of the business rescue process that is at hand.
'We have not gotten any indication that those caring for the mine now are unable to honour their payment commitments,” said Mokoena.