Zwane Flew To Zurich To Facilitate Optimum Mine Sale To Guptas, Inquiry Hears

FILE: Former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – The state capture commission has heard that former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane flew to Switzerland to do the bidding for the Gupta family to take over the Optimum coal mine.

Former CEO of Glencore Clinton Ephron took the stand at the commission in Parktown on Wednesday.

He described events suggesting that former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe used his powers to force Optimum coal mine out of business so that the Gupta family could swoop in and buy the company.

The so-called Gupta leaks previously revealed that Zwane flew to Zurich with the Guptas to facilitate the sale of the mine to the controversial family.

Zwane denied more than once that he flew to Switzerland to pressure Glencore to sell its Optimum coal mine to the Gupta family.

But Ephron says not only did Zwane and Gupta associate Salim Essa meet with Glencore’s CEO Ivan Glasenberg in Zurich, but his office also initiated that meeting.

“The meeting between Mr Zwane and Glasenberg took place at the Dolder hotel in Zurich. When he [Glasenberg] asked who Mr Essa was, he was told that he was an advisor to the minister.”

But Ephron says Glasenberg told Zwane his company had decided to keep the mine.

“Mr Glasenberg had clearly told the minister that we were keeping the mine, but that we were willing to consider a sale at an appropriate price.”

He says Zwane then told Glasenberg that quote “I am sure Glencore will reach a deal with the Guptas”.