Please find attached a soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP.
The DA has noted the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s response to a court challenge to the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), in which the Director-General, Adv. Thabo Mokoena, and Deputy Director-General, Tseliso Maqubela, of the Department confirm meeting with DNG Energy CEO Aldworth Mbalati at Kream restaurant in Pretoria. This response raises more questions than answers, and appears to support the allegations of interference and corruption that continue to cloud this project.
Of particular concern is the presence of one Vuyani Gaga in this meeting. Gaga, who allegedly has previously presented himself as Minister Gwede Mantashe’s nephew in the Nkwe mine controversy, is no stranger to corruption claims. He was arrested and charged in connection with the R631 million Siyenza toilet scandal in the Eastern Cape. He is currently a business partner of Mantashe’s wife, Nolwandle Mantashe, in a company called Siphamba Consulting (a company Mantashe’s son, Buyambo, also worked for at one time). This lends further credence to Mbalati’s allegation that Nolwandle Mantashe was working with other bidders to extend the submission deadline for bid proposals, and for which he submitted a forwarded message as evidence.
At the same time, a new legal opinion obtained by Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) from law firm Bowman Gilfillan identifies significant regulatory challenges for the RMIPPPP, and more specifically the Karpowerships bid. These relate to regulatory requirements in terms of the National Ports Act. The DA first raised these concerns weeks ago, when the successful bidders were announced, but were ignored by the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy. It is now clear that such regulatory requirements represent a major hurdle, which has not yet been resolved. Of particular interest is the Ministerial statement in reply to a DA parliamentary question as to why other bidders were unsuccessful: “Failure to comply with the Land and Environmental qualification criteria (did not have the necessary permits, authorisations, land rights or Final Scoping Reports for environmental purposes).” Assuming that the same criteria is applied to all regulatory requirements, why was the Karpowerships bid allowed to proceed without having such regulatory permissions in place?
The Democratic Alliance reiterates its demand for all scoring and deliberations of the bid adjudication committee (and any other bodies involved in the process) to be made public, and for the names of all persons involved in taking the final decision as to which bidders would be successful and which would not, to be revealed. Our constitution places a premium on openness, transparency and accountability. The DMRE and the Minister continue to obfuscate and obscure the process, which only serves to reinforce suspicions of malpractice and misconduct.
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