The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) has called for urgent action by the police and prosecuting authorities following a High Court judgment which set aside contracts for the sale of South Africa’s strategic crude oil reserves.
Then energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who is currently chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on police, did not apply her mind to certain crucial issues, the court found. Oversight failures on the part of the boards of the Central Energy Fund (CEF) and the its subsidiary, the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF), were also highlighted in the judgment.
The HSF wanted an urgent investigation into the case with a view to bringing appropriate criminal charges, said HSF legal head Anton Van Dalsen.
“It is evident that this case represents not only a fundamental failure of oversight by the boards of government-controlled entities and the responsible minister, but also a major criminal enterprise.”
In its judgment last week Friday, the Western Cape High Court declared invalid certain contracts relating to the sale by the SFF of 10 million barrels of crude oil, for an amount of $281 million (approximatelyR4 billion). It also set aside decisions made pertaining to the sale by Joemat-Pettersson.
Then acting chief executive officer (CEO) of the SFF, Sibusiso Gamede, was noted in the judgment as “not genuinely concerned with the best interests of the SFF and the country and that motives were improper”.
“Evidence that certain payments made to him, on the papers before the court, were found to have been bribes.” In addition, it was found that certain invoices issued by him in connection with the transactions were bogus.