Fight heats up over KZN mine deal

[] — A report about “BEE fat cats” to benefit from a multi billion rand mining deal was grossly inaccurate, IFP general secretary Musa Zondi said on Wednesday.

“I would like to state categorically that the facts as presented in today’s papers are grossly inaccurate and totally baseless,” he said.

Zondi was responding to media reports which stated that he and other “fat cats” were going to benefit from a R4.5bn black economic empowerment mining deal, at the expense of the local community of Richards Bay.

He said the report shocked him.

Zondi said four local communities of Richards Bay, who were the main stakeholders of the Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) deal, drew a dividend on a regular basis.

“The community has benefited substantially and will continue to benefit considerably in future,” he said.

The claim that only fat cats and outsiders would benefit from the deal was totally mischievous, Zondi said.

“When the deal was set up we believed that it was our responsibility to ensure that the people who are economically empowered from this deal are the local communities,” he said.

Zondi said Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton had to be praised for agreeing to the deal. Other private investors had to invest their own money in order to get shares in the deal.

“None of us were given shares for free. We had to come up with money to purchase the shares ourselves. The perception that has been created that we are getting money without contributing a cent is utter nonsense.”