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Mantashe on ANC integrity commission’s radar

ANC chairperson and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe may soon be called to account by the integrity commission over allegations of corruption levelled by a losing bidder in the energy space. 

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian on Monday afternoon, the ANC integrity commission’s chair, George Mashaba, said that the body of elders would discuss summoning Mantashe over the reported allegations. 

Mashamba, who told the M&G that the commission evaluates more than 80 complaints against the party’s political elite at any given time, said that Mantashe has popped onto the commission’s radar. 

“Gwede has surfaced but we could not deal with him because we had other issues. We will discuss it on Saturday in our weekly meetings and that is when we will determine if and when we should meet him,” he said. 

Mashamba said that the commission had mainly discussed Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who had indicated that he would appear before the commission. 

This will not be the first time that Mantashe, one of president Cyril Ramaphosa’s most powerful allies in the ANC, is summoned by the commission. 

Shortly after the 2019 elections, Mantashe and others, including Deputy President David Mabuza, were summoned by the elders, who recommended that they be removed from the ANC’s parliamentary list process. 

This caused a massive headache for the ANC, which would later overrule the commission’s recommendations. 

Mantashe was called to account for allegations levelled against him in the state capture commission that he had unduly benefited from controversial company Bosasa via upgrades done in his Gauteng and Eastern Cape homes. 

Mantashe has denied all allegations against him. 

This comes after investigative journalism unit AmaBhungane reported that an affidavit deposed to by Aldworth Mbalati in the Pretoria high court alleged that top bureaucrats and associates of Mantashe rigged the multibillion-rand tender for the supply of emergency power. 

The report claims that Mbalati, the founder and chief executive of DNG Power Holdings, recounted being courted by a businessman with close ties to Mantashe a month before the department of mineral resources and energy published the bid. 

Mbalati, who hoped to be awarded a substantial part of the emergency procurement, officially known as the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, stated in his affidavit that the alleged businessman with ties to Mantashe said that the tender would soon be released – and that the outcome would be predetermined.

The M&G recently reported that the South African consortium holding a 49% share of the controversial 20-year Karpowership SA floating power station deal announced in March by Mantashe was formed less than a year ago.

Powergroup SA — a consortium comprising four companies in partnership with Turkish Karadeniz Energy Group — was registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission only on 15 May last year.

Two of the companies involved in Powergroup have experience in the energy industry, but two others, owning 35% collectively, have none.

Karpowership — of which Karadeniz holds 51% — was named as preferred bidder to provide 1 220 megawatts of electricity through three floating power stations using liquefied natural gas.

Its appointment as a preferred bidder in a 20-year deal worth R218-billion has also been questioned by opposition parties, which called for an investigation into the award of the contract. They were outvoted in parliament.

The 20-year powership contract is yet to receive approval from the department of environmental affairs or Transnet, which operates the Saldanha, Coega and Richards Bay harbours off which Karpowership’s vessels will be moored.

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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