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What do the Guptas have to do with load shedding? It turns out to be a big deal, actually

What do the Guptas have to do with load shedding? It turns out to be a big deal, actually
From left: Atul Gupta. (Photo: Gallo Images / Financial Mail / Robert Tshabalala) | Tegeta’s Ronica Ragavan. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla) | (Photo: Simon Dawson / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The reason the Guptas were stopped in their tracks was because of investigative journalism. This is why we need journalism.

The family from India that exerted extraordinary influence over the Cabinet during the presidency of Jacob Zuma had business interests in many sectors, and one of the main ones was mining.

The Guptas’ Tegeta coal mine in Brakfontein was improperly awarded a contract from Eskom in 2015. 

For three years, the Guptas’ mine supplied rubbish coal to Medupi Power Station, one of the country’s most important power sources.

The SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) tested 30 coal samples from the Tegeta mine. Twenty-nine of them failed the SABS standards. The SABS passed only one.

What does inferior coal do to our multibillion-rand power stations?

Read more in Daily Maverick: State of the Media

It damages power supply, badly. Stones in the coal break the conveyer belts. Poor-quality coal corrodes the power station boilers.

This isn’t the only reason we have load shedding. We know now that maintenance that should have been done on these power stations over years and years was not done. We know now that there have been many other acts of criminality and corruption at Eskom. But a piece of the puzzle of why we have load shedding today is what the Guptas did to Eskom.

And the reason we know about that now – the reason the Guptas were stopped in their tracks – was because of investigative journalism. 

It’s almost impossible to imagine how much worse off this country could have been without the publication of the GuptaLeaks exposés in 2017. Load shedding could have been much worse. Our power stations could have been beyond repair.

This is why we need journalism. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • David Forbes says:

    SA’s investigative journos are top class. You are ALL to be congratulated! Keep up the brilliant work, and don’t let wars, politics, and other news overwhelm the sterling work that you guys do. We need you, we love you, and we will protect you and fight for you!

  • Robert Pegg says:

    Totally agree with the last comment, you are the saving grace for SA.
    I don’t trust politicians as far as you can throw them, and most are too fat to get off their feet !

  • David Bristow says:

    Every day we thank the gods of “print” that we have the likes of you.

  • Lynda Tyrer says:

    Thank goodness for investigative journalism, we have a corrupt govt who tries to push everything under the rug.

  • James Baxter says:

    But I am of the opinion that the Gupta were stopped because they were trying to disrupt white monopoly in the economy of SA. White monopoly is not allowing black people to own banks, mines. One day a black man will come who will emancipate black people to own mines, banks etc. We need black monopoly capital to fight with white monopoly so that children in the eastern cape grow up to be strong to lead our country into the 21st century, I thank you.

    • gorgee beattie says:


      • James Baxter says:

        It I not drivel but we need to allow non whites to own economy and supply Eskom with coal, it can’t be white monopoly only the owns economy, there are forty million African people in SA but no one owns a bank or an mine. Patrice does not own those mines because his mines are only paying Sundowns players, they don’t pay the actual mine workers who dig for the salary that pay Sundowns players. Does he have a mine worker who earns a measly fifty thousand.

        • M E says:

          What are you on about? Patrice Motsepe is a billionaire and owns Tyme Bank and mines galore. So your comment about black people not being allowed to own anything is such drivel. Wake up!

          • Kanu Sukha says:

            Wake up .. he is an amateur (and lame) satirist .. trying to put Malibongwe out of business !

        • Alaric Nitak says:

          Perhaps you haven’t studied the article long enough to understand it. To save you the trouble, I can tell you it’s all about what happens when you have non-whites supplying coal to Eskom.

        • James P says:

          Nobody ‘owns’ the economy, in order to integrate economically on a sustainable level people need to behave like adults and deliver to a decent standard. This requires education that is not useless as the ANC education currently is. Standards have been dropped to the gutter to cook the stats accommodate the ‘disadvantaged’ and quite frankly hopelessly uneducated, unemployable and naive population. Keeping people stupid is politically advantageous to the ANC and the country has fallen apart as a direct result. You can’t lift the country up by lowering standards to zero to accommodate people who produce nothing of any value. The ANC voter lives in permanent denial of the reality that is that the country is f**ked because of the ANC.

        • William Dryden says:

          I thought that the VBS bank was owned by black people? if not it was black people that stole from it including Zuma,Malema and the rest.

    • Cape Doctor says:

      Well done, Mr Baxter. I’d like to send you a gift to show my appreciation for your fine comments. What size strait-jacket do you take?

    • Rodney Weidemann says:

      No, they were stopped because they were taking SA’s entire fiscus back to Dubai, while wrecking our infrastructure with low-quality coal after strongarming their way into the industry via another thief, Mosebenzi Zwane…

      • James Baxter says:

        But why is economy owned by white monopoly, while the is no black monopoly capital. Patrice and Cyril are not strong enough to help black people to own mines and banks

    • Running Man says:

      @James Baxter I appreciate your sympathy for the children of the eastern cape, but let’s not forget that the ANC literally had ALL the power. No opposition party then or even now can stop them from doing anything. They had an effective monopoly on the govt and could pass whatever legislation or enact any programmes they wanted.

      Instead they robbed the country.

      • James Baxter says:

        I would like to agree with you but I am hamstrung on these matters sobi I am required by political expediency to ignore what you are saying because I am pursuing a particular agenda

    • Grumpy Old Man says:

      Hey James, there is a lot of misinformation that spreads in our country. When people talk about ownership – or who owns who or what – requires some understanding of the ‘market’. To the best of my knowledge the single biggest investor in the market is the Government Employees Pension Fund – in other words the retirement savings of the workers. Their savings give them shares which in turn give them ownership equal to the value of their shares.
      Whilst I accept that a lot of persons may not trust business – may not like or trust the market – it is a means of allowing persons access, and a stake, which allows them to grow the value of their hard earned savings.
      I am not sure that a so-called Black owned institution is going to give its customers / clients anything more than the current so called white participants do. Any business – black / white / yellow / green still has to operate sustainably – which requires that it generate profit.
      Profit is a dirty word in this country – but misunderstood – business needs to make a profit or it can’t deliver. It’s what we do with profit that’s important. If it can be used to ‘grow’ and create more jobs – then everyone wins
      Look at our SOE’s which are failing – and look at the jobs being lost because of this! What our people need to be concerned about is not ownership – but mismanagement. It is that which is a threat to their futures

    • shannon Maxwell says:

      I was of the opinion that Patrice Motsepe opened, and majority owns, Thyme Bank.

    • Preferred Anonymity says:

      Please view the article posted in MiningWeekly, stating that South African mines are now 39% Black owned. A business needs at least 26% black ownership to be considered for a new mining license. Patrice Motsepe owns several mines and has been non-executive director of Absa and Sanlam and has shares in several other financial institutions. Tokyo Sexwhale owns the third largest diamond mine. Sipho Nkosi made his fortune in coal mining. Phutuma Nhleko kicked off the management buy in scheme while CEO of MTN, 70% of which were previously disadvantaged. He then went on to serve as director of Old Mutual and has positions in several other companies, including mining. Leonard Sowazi has served as director or chairperson at dozens of investment and financial firms. Mike Teke is CEO of Optimum Coal. Saki Macozoma, deputy chairman of Standard bank and VW SA. Dalikhaya Zihlangu, started off working as a shift boss in mines and now is executive director of many. That is 8 of the 10 richest black South Africans, all involved in Mining or Banking. Why are only Eastern Cape Children allowed to lead the country in your future?

    • Lucifer's Consiglieri says:

      I assume that this is a parody …

      • Kanu Sukha says:

        But note the many serious responses to James’s lame attempts at satire/parody .. investing him with almost fake ‘celebrity’ status, which he is reveling in !

    • Bob Kuhn says:

      Bigoted tripe, mr “baxter”

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      Have you heard of African Rainbow Minerals? How about Royal Bafokeng holdings (worth a cool $4 billion)? In fact, aside from these and other majority-black-owned mining companies, any mine in SA is required to have at least 26% black ownership.

      On to banking. All the major South African banks are listed on the JSE. Owning shares in the banks is available to all. Perhaps it’s time to learn a thing or two from the Bafokeng nation in this regard too? They’ve been investing their earnings for over a 150 years, and they have been reaping the rewards from the seeds planted by ancestors’ labours in Kimberley’s big hole.

      Only a handful of politicians get wealthy from government handouts. Everyone else just get grants. No matter how much the government confiscates, you won’t see any of it. If you want wealth, it will only come to you from your own efforts and smart moves.

  • Rae Earl says:

    Journalists in SA are under constant attack by the ANC, EFF, and other parties whose members are suspected of dishonesty and criminality. Without these journalists the country would be in a much worse situation than it is currently. Daily Maverick, News 24, AmaBhungane, Groundup, and others are doing work which Bheki Cele and his SAPS are simply unable to carry out. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the Independent News group who are simply there to milk South Africa dry while their reporters follow orders and spread false and misleading news. We are indebted to all the journalist who display courage and integrity in their essential work.

  • Ace Tshobs says:

    But Guptaz coal contract with Eskom was 5% of the total coal contracts Eskom had with coal suppliers, most of these contracts going back to 1970z hence called ‘green contracts’
    It make no sense blaming Guptaz on this one

    • Patterson Alan John says:

      Dear Ace, This article is about one coal operator who maliciously created a business model to defraud the SOE (Eskom), the Government and deprive the people of South Africa of electricity, weaken industry and cause untold hardship to businesses that had to install generators and pay fro fuel, rather than investing in growing the economy and both maintaining employment, as well as creating new jobs.
      The so-called ‘Green contracts’ to expand coal supplies to Black enterprises, led to a multitude of illegal coal operators that subsequently delivered quality coal to transfer yards, replaced the coal with totally inferior coal with stones and sold the good coal as a second profit stream.
      Look at the numbers of illegal coal suppliers that have been apprehended and closed down over the past year since Andre de Ruyker blew the whistle.
      The Guptas provided the working model for all the others to follow.
      If this does not change your opinion, invite the Guprtas for tea and biscuits and ask them about all their other schemes that have milked South Africans of their assets, now deposited in Dubai.

  • Marlize Meyer says:

    So missed you all on Monday 17th. It was unnerving not being able to read what I need to know. Long live DM

  • Patterson Alan John says:

    Recently, DM published an article by by Zukiswa Pikoli, ‘Should those who flee the ship be welcomed back when it’s saved?’
    Her contentious opinion piece did not provide a clear statement on her position, but left it as a wide open question for readers to contemplate for themselves and come to their own conclusions.
    In similar vein, the appeals for DM readers to rise to the occasion and assist in the funding of their investigative journalism, has similar connotations. Every citizen of South Africa has, and will continue to benefit from their work as they expose, investigate and shine the light on nefarious practices. That being the case, it could then be suggested that those readers who can afford to subscribe to DM, but do not, are effectively benefiting by riding on the backs of the existing subscribers.
    This can be aligned with the lack of payment of school fees that is leading to the demise of the Vryburger High School in Ekurhuleni, where it is clear that all the pupils will soon be out of school. This may be some form of protest action, but is the demise of the school commensurate with the consequences for the futures of their children?
    Can we allow DM and their associates to slowly starve to death, thus giving the plunderers free reign to go about their dastardly business with impunity? Realising the error of our ways at that point, will be far too late. The fight has to be maintained and the appropriate resources sustained.
    Similarly to the conflict of Russia vs Ukraine, if we do not rally now to the cause at hand, the forces of evil will prevail and overwhelm us.

  • Lenka Mojau says:

    I am no fan of the Guptas, but I somehow disagree that state capture was at its best before Zuma and it is at its best post Zuma. The so called investigative journalism is one sided but more of a propaganda machine that market western interests at all costs. If the Gupta’s did commit any crime they would be languishing in jail right now. Gupta noice is a tool to blackmail black excellence, to reverse the gains that Brian Molefe and Matshela Koko achieved at Eskom, with an alterior motive of privatizing Eskom. Finish and klaar.

    • Johan Buys says:

      Lenka: the Guptas are not in jail because they fled the country to places that won’t extradite them to SA. They would not dare set foot in SA again.

      We will get somewhere as a country much faster if we stop making everything about skin color. A crook is a crook is a crook regardless of race. I know many outstanding and ethical not-white business people. I also know many useless shyster not-black business people. I would be stupid if I claimed that not-black is worse than not-white.

      We need growth, we need investment, we need jobs. If we don’t pull up out of this spiral we are in, it ends like Zim for the not-whites and the not-blacks by 2029.

  • matthys muller says:

    They get there coal from Grootgeluk mine

  • Cedric Buffler says:

    Rebecca, you have a way of summarising factual data, without ever being boring. Thanks for this brief history lesson. My frustration is that you are probably preaching to the converted. This kind of reminder should be front and Centre of social media during the run up to the elections.

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