Ramontja: Zwane advisors undermined my work as DG
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Ramontja: Zwane advisors undermined my work as DG

Former Director General of Mineral Resources Dr Thibedi Ramontja has detailed how three advisors to former minister Mosebezni Zwane interfered with his work.

Ramontja
State capture Inquiry

Ramontja, who resigned from his position in 2015, testified at the commission of inquiry into state capture on Thursday.

 

He told the commission that working under Zwane was unbearable.

 

Ramontja said immediately after being sworn in as minister, three known Gupta associates were appointed as Zwane’s advisors.

 

The advisors were Kuben Moodley, who has been implicated in money laundering at the commission, as well Malcolm Mabaso and Zarina Kellerman.  

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"A minister and a DG have to work really close and during that time I had to work through advisors and I just felt marginalised. Advisors were talking to my staff and we didn't know what was happening, you are operating in a misty environment and always trying to connect the dots. It's one of the most frustrating environment. Advisors are not supposed to run departments."

 

Soon after he was given 20 minutes by Zwane’s office to hand in his resignation, said Ramontja.

 

"I was called to the minister's office and was led to Mr. Mabaso office. I sat there with him and we chatted and he said to me: ‘The minister says you must resign’. He said the minister wanted his resignation in 20 minutes."

 

A letter from mineral resources, which involved former Eskom executive Matshela Koko and the deal by Gupta-owned Tegeta to purchase Optimum Coal, was also submitted to the commission.

 

Ramontja said even though he signed the letter, he was unaware of its contents, and was under the impression that it would assist Eskom as Koko had painted a dire picture of the situation at the power utility.

 

He admitted that he should have been more vigilant as the letter appears to have been a way in which government processes were used to assist Tegeta’s purchase of Optimum.

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