THE CITIZEN / 21 FEBRUARY 2019 - 13.30 / MAKHOSANDILE ZULU
The Numsa secretary general believes the IPP-Eskom deal will benefit the energy minister’s family.
The general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), Irvin Jim, said Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe is “conflicted given his proximity” to President Cyril Ramaphosa and businessman Patrice Motsepe.
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim
Speaking at the union’s press conference on Thursday on Numsa’s views on Eskom, the strike at the plastics sector and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech on Wednesday, Jim took aim at Radebe for signing off on 27 renewable energy projects last year, saying the minister’s family stands to benefit from these.
Within a few days of his appointment last year, Radebe signed off on contracts with independent power producers (IPPs), a move which some felt would potentially place the minister in a conflict of interest due to his wife’s business interests in the energy sector.
Radebe’s wife Bridgette is also Patrice Motsepe’s sister. Another of his sisters is First Lady Tshepo Motsepe.
“The minister of energy is conflicted because of his family’s benefits from the costly IPPs,” Jim said.
While the union respects and notes Motsepe’s recent press conference in which the businessman denied accusations that he will benefit from Eskom being unbundled, “a simple search will show that [a] bid was signed off by his brother in law and energy minister, Mr Jeff Radebe within seven days of his appointment” said Jim.
He added that he believes this shows that the deal will be to the benefit of AREP [African Rainbow Energy and Power], the company for which Motsepe acts as chairperson.
The union’s secretary-general said another reason why the IPPs are “bad news” for Eskom is that no fair procurement process was followed when the agreement with these IPPs was signed.
“Jeff Radebe as the minister of energy is clearly conflicted given his proximity to the president and Motsepe. One wonders why the president is insistent [on keeping] him, or [if] his deployment [was] a conscious one. We are just posing that question there,” Jim said.
He added that the union is demanding for an independent investigation to be instituted into the procurement process leading to the agreement between Eskom and the IPPs.
“Numsa is demanding that in the interest of South Africa’s public and in the interest of fairness for those who are conflicted or not conflicted, government must agree on the appointment of an independent commission in consultation with all stakeholders – labour, government, business and civil society – to investigate the procurement process involved in the IPPs.
“They must further announce to the South African public who are the men and women who are the owners and beneficiaries of [these] IPPs.”
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER