Billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe has denied claims that the unbundling of Eskom will benefit his firm African Rainbow Energy and Power (AREP).
The businessman held a briefing to dispel allegations of nepotism after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during his state of the nation address that Eskom would be unbundled into three entities.
The motion to unbundle Eskom was ill-received by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who claimed the move by the president aimed to benefit his brother-in-law, Motsepe, and Energy Minister Jeff Radebe – who is also Motsepe’s brother-in-law.
Ramaphosa rejected the allegations that he had rushed to sign any independent power producers (IPP) deal in a bid to benefit the AREP group chaired by Motsepe.
Group CEO Brian Dames, during the briefing at the Sandton Convention Centre, said many things would be said about Motsepe and his family ahead of this year’s general elections.
Motsepe said having relatives in top government positions would lead to suspicions of favouritism.
“Having relatives in very high positions in government justifiably raises perception of favouritism or improper conduct,” he said in the context of the renewable energy independent power producers programme.
Motsepe added that his company had avoided working with government as it always had “its complications”.
While discussing the workings of the organisation, Motsepe said the value of AREP’s share in nine current renewable energy projects was R800 million. This was 3.9% of the total equity value of the R20.6 billion of the department of energy’s renewable energy independent power producer programme.
He blamed the latest allegations on the looming general elections and said they were “without any substance”.
None of the renewable energy projects linked to AREP were received directly from the government, according to Motsepe, who added that they were obtained through a bidding process involving the private sector. He maintained that he was opposed to the privatisation of Eskom or the sale of any of its entities and would not participate in the purchase of any of its entities or assets.
“We do need institutions like Eskom because the private sector is about profit. It’s about making money. Eskom’s focus is about a developmental role. It’s in our interest.”
Patrice Motsepe’s sister is First Lady Tshepo Motsepe. Energy Minister Jeff Radebe is married to his other sister Bridgette Motsepe.
(Compiled by Gopolang Chawane)