SA Minister's corruption links raised at conference
Publish date: 11 September 2017
Issue Number: 742
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Speaking at the Africa Down Under mining conference in Australia on Friday, Chamber of Mines CE Roger Baxter fired an extraordinary broadside at South Africa's Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, saying there were ‘significant corruption allegations’ against him and the industry had lost confidence in him. Zwane, who rose from political obscurity as Free State agriculture MEC to become the political head of the Department of Mineral Resources, operates under a pall of impropriety and stands accused by the chamber of sidelining it during negotiations to draw up the third version of the Mining Charter, notes a Business Day report. Mining companies had essentially frozen all investments in the country, Baxter told delegates, a day after Zwane addressed the same gathering. Both Zwane and Baxter’s presentations did nothing to change a growing perception that SA was a far from ideal investment destination, notes the report. Baxter did not shy away from the tension between the industry and Zwane, which has sharply increased since the Minister gazetted the third version of the charter, prompting the chamber to approach the courts to interdict it. Zwane has been linked via various e-mails leaked from the Gupta family to a number of unsavoury events. His involvement in securing the Optimum colliery from Glencore for the Gupta-owned Tegeta Resources raised questions about his suitability as the Mineral Resources Minister. ‘Significant corruption allegations against the Minister and the Department of Mineral Resources have not been cleared, and the proposed judicial commission of inquiry into state capture has not been established,’ Baxter said. The leaked e-mails have shown in detail the flow of huge amounts of cash from dubious deals into Gupta-related accounts in the Middle East.