Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
2 May 2021
12:21 pm

DA calls on Ramaphosa to approve SIU probe into powerships deal

Thapelo Lekabe

The party also wants the president to suspend minister Gwede Mantashe.

A Karadeniz Karpowership Rauf Bey. Picture: Karpowership website

The DA on Sunday said its leader John Steenhuisen will write to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting him to authorise the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to launch an urgent probe into South Africa’s multibillion-rand emergency powerships programme.

In a statement, the DA said recent explosive allegations by the losing bidder in the project about the involvement of family members of Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and senior officials of his department in the bid process should be investigated.

The party also wants Ramaphosa to suspend Mantashe while the investigation is carried out into the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP).

The claims against the minister were made in court papers filed before the Pretoria High Court by businessman Aldworth Mbalati, the founder and CEO of DNG Power Holdings.

ALSO READ: MPs question powerships deal

DA MP and spokesperson on mineral resources and energy, Kevin Mileham, said the SIU should institute “an urgent and comprehensive investigation into the bid adjudication and the scoring of the bidders.”

Mileham said the DA had also written to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to request an investigation into the programme.

“When the DA called for such an investigation in the Mineral Resources and Energy parliamentary portfolio committee meeting on Wednesday, it was dismissed by the ANC as being outside the scope of the committee’s responsibilities – despite it clearly being a project of the department,” he said.

BEE partnership

The party is also concerned about reports that the company belonging to lawyer George Mokoena holds a 20% stake in Powergroup SA – the BEE partner to the Turkish powership company Karadeniz. Both companies created Karpowership SA which won the lion’s share of the project.

Mokoena is reportedly a former special advisor to ex-Cabinet ministers of State Security David Mahlobo and Bongani Bongo.

In March, Mantashe announced Karpowership SA as one of the eight preferred bidders that are expected to meet the country’s short-term electricity supply gap.

Due to be stationed at Coega, Richards Bay and Saldanha Bay for 20 years, the power ships will be pumping 1220 megawatts (MW) of power into Eskom’s embattled grid using liquefied natural gas.

However, significant doubts have been raised from a number of NGOs crying foul, from impact assessment flaws to a stark lack of information on issues such as pricing, as well as long-term effects of locking the country into yet another fossil fuel nightmare.

Environmental NGOs have also cried foul over the ships, saying their use means the renewable energy sector will continue being denied the opportunity to form a significant part of the DMRE’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP).

Additional reporting by Nica Richards and Moneyweb

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