May 16, 2017 / 7:37 AM / 3 years ago

Former S.Africa mines minister says Eskom tried to influence him

An Eskom logo is seen at the entrance of their head offices in Sunninghill, Sandton, February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Former South African mines minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Tuesday, without giving evidence, that power utility Eskom’s CEO and chairman asked him in 2015 to suspend Glencore’s mining licences to put pressure on the commodities firm to sell a coal mine.

Khulani Qoma, a spokesman for Eskom board’s, denied the allegation, saying it was “devoid of logic”.

Glencore in 2015 placed its Optimum coal mine under protection from creditors and later sold it to South Africa’s Tegeta Exploration and Resources, a firm controlled by the Gupta brothers, who deny allegations they wield excessive influence over President Jacob Zuma.

“They (Eskom’s CEO and chairman) insisted that I must suspend all the Glencore mining licences,” Ramatlhodi told local media, adding he declined to give in to the pressure.

Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by James Macharia and Mark Potter

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