Business rescue practitioners appointed to oversee the operations of the Gupta-linked mining companies have warned that should these mines not get new banking facilities to replace the Bank of Baroda by the end of March, their business operations will come to an end.

The Bank of Baroda announced its exit from South Africa in February. It was the only financial institution providing banking services to the Gupta-linked companies such as Optimum Coal Mine and Tegeta Resources.

“Irrespective of anything that we are saying here about coal operation, about labour, about management, about this or that or shortcomings of the operations or anything else. If these four companies do not have banking facilities by the end of March then it will be the end of the line for them. It is the end of the line for the jobs of the workers. It is the end of the line for the operations. These mines will simply shutdown and cease to exist. If they don’t have banking facilities, they don’t have a company. That is that simple,” explains Business rescue practitioner Louis Klopper.

The National Union of Mineworkers has confirmed that all the workers at the Gutpa owned Optimum Coal mine in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, have finally received their salaries. This comes after they staged several protests outside the mine premises last week to express their concern about the future of the mine.