JOHANNESBURG, South Africa
The Gupta family has now been cleared by over four entities of any wrong doing but you wouldn’t know this from the media reports.
The big story over the weekend by City Press revolved around the alleged Eskom untoward “bail out” of the Gupta business. But Eskom has issued two detailed statements which clears the Gupta family business more specifically Tegeta which is one of the coal suppliers to Eskom.
The Eskom statements come at the backdrop of the Gupta family also being cleared by the ANC NEC investigation which followed the alleged “state capture” by the family. It must be remembered that when the long term auditors of the family KPMG stopped its association with the family business it made it clear that there was nothing wrong with the books of the Guptas, an assertion which was confirmed by the new auditors who undertook their own independent “due diligence” on the state of the finances of the business.
As if that is not enough, even the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has come out and denied that there is any investigation against the Guptas. These facts make a fair reader to ask; why is the media spreading lies?
The stories by both city press and Sunday times are devoid of any factual truth, are malicious and possibly illegal as well. City Press was given clarifications by Eskom which showed that their story had no basis in fact. But they ignored all that and continued to publish lies and fabrications. City Press essentially alleges that the Tegeta was given preferential treatment on the Arnot deal to offset the losses on the Hendrina deal.
The readers not familiar with the Eskom deal might know that once Guptas bought the Swiss company known as Optimum Coal, they continued to supply coal at R150 a ton as opposed the R530 demanded by the Swiss company under threat of unleashing load shedding. That is the Hendrina deal which continues until 2018. What happened in between is that Eskom needed more supplies for the Arnot power station, and the request was opened to other suppliers which included Tegeta. The quality of the coal is different from that which is required by the Hendrina station. Eskom explained in its statements that, the quality of the coal for this station is “export grade”.
The racism of City Press report comes with how it does not believe that a black owned company can do better than a white owned business
City Press chose to lie openly when it says, coal was ferried from 50km away to offset the loss making of Optimum Coal deal. Eskom clarified to city press in a statement that, “The Optimum Coal Mine provides two coal qualities to Eskom. The Optimum – Hendrina supply is a blended product of run-of-mine and washed product. This is supplied under the existing Optimum-Hendrina contract that expires in 2018.” Eskom was explicit that; “The second product from Optimum from their export mining compound. It is a higher quality coal and this is supplied to Arnot under the current short term agreement”.
City Press deliberately omitted the distinction between the coal supplied on Hendrina and the one supplied to Arnot. Furthermore, City Press deliberately misinformed its readers by not disclosing that Tegeta was one of the seven suppliers for the short term contract named by Eskom. This shows that City Press has an agenda specifically against Tegeta because it’s partly owned by the Guptas. Eskom on Saturday issued a statement which made it clear that; “Eskom firmly rejects the suggestion that Tegeta was favoured or that due process was not followed”. But City Press is not interested in the truth it’s only interested in the agenda to kick the Guptas out of the coal sector because white owned companies now feel the heat of competition.
The racism of City Press report comes with how it does not believe that a black owned company can do better than a white owned business. White media asks how Tegeta can turn around a loss making company which whites had given up on. Instead of recognising Tegeta for business skills and innovation they cast aspersion suggesting wrong doing. “If whites can’t do it, blacks can’t do it either” is the philosophy behind City Press report supported by Sunday Times. Furthermore, City Press and Sunday Times in their campaign to destroy the Gupta family, failed to inform their readers that Eskom has declared that the deal with the Guptas has saved it R1 billion in mere 8 months. This is a big positive story, when Eskom saves money it means South Africans benefit. But such truth comes in the way of the agenda of the media.
The media is also silent about how Eskom explains how Tegeta has stepped in when there was a crisis at the Hendrina power station and has saved thousands of jobs. City Press furthermore, withheld information to its readers which would have shown that in fact the deal they claim is bad, comes at much lower price for Eskom than the deal before which was under the white owned Exxaro which sold R1 132 per ton as against the average of R500 by Tegeta. That is half the price the white companies use to demand, but such facts don’t support the campaign and are therefore suppressed.
The Gupta business tired of distortions and has called on all the media houses to a live debate on their stories. None are willing to do so because a live debate doesn’t allow for distortions. Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa has thrown the gauntlet and till date only Media24 has accepted the challenge to a live debate and the result is quite revealing on how the media is doing the bidding for white owned companies who are feeling the heat of the competitive edge of the Gupta owned companies.
In the media 24 live interview, the public gets to learn a lot about selective reporting and the revelations that the media has ignored the Eskom own statement and the SARB. It would come as a big surprise to many readers to know that actually, Oakbay only supplies about 5% of the coal to Eskom. The other about 80% is supplied by white owned companies who are not being hounded by the media. See interview here
The media needs to be asked as to why it is not interested in the 80% coal suppliers of Eskom. The reason is patent to all fair people. The troubles of the Oakbay started when they out smarted the Swiss giant Glencore and bought their ailing company which was trying to blackmail Eskom by withdrawing its coal with the hope of hitting South Africa with another outage and then to be able to name the price it wants to sell coal to Eskom which would have been outside the agreement it had. It was the foresight and courage of the Eskom CEO Brian Molefe who stopped the whole scheme and quickly put the Swiss giant on a back footing and was forced to sell their business called Optimal Coal to the Guptas. This has infuriated white business and had led to the political attack sponsored by white capital and the Gupta must go campaign on the one hand and on the other the same white monopoly capital in competition with the Guptas has pressured the banks to close the accounts of the Gupta business. The media is not interested in the linkages including the serious impact on the 7500 workers and their families which comes to affecting over 50 000 people!
The renewed media attack on Oakbay seem to be linked with the realization that the Guptas are turning around the loss making Optimum Coal. A few months ago the business was on its dead bed but today has been removed from the ICU to the bitterness of white monopoly capital. This means Oakbay is establishing itself in the coal sector which is currently dominated by white owned companies. What is even more intriguing is that one of the companies which are major players in coal are those associated with Johann Rupert. Together with the companies linked to the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa who is personal friend of Rupert their companies have respectively milked over R8 billion from Eskom. Clearly Rupert and Ramaphosa are concerned that their milking cow is now doing business with companies which are not linked to white monopoly capital.
Given the lies written by the media against black companies and businesses it makes sense that government should without any further delay institute a media tribunal and criminalize lies and slander by the media. The South African media is no longer held accountable by media ethics, it has become peddlers of lies and distortion for narrow racist ends.
National Convenor, Black First Land First
SOURCE: Black First Land First