JOHANNESBURG, February 18 – South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe on Monday denied allegations that his energy company stands to benefit from Eskom’s unbundling due to his proximity to the country’s president and energy minister.
Motsepe, who is brothers-in-law with President Cyril Ramaphosa and Jeff Radebe, is accused by political parties and trade unions of standing to benefit in the unbundling of the troubled power utility by buying one of the entities that will be separated through his African Rainbow Energy and Power (AREP).
Motsepe said, “having relatives in very high positions in government justifiably raises perception of favoritism or improper conduct” in the context of renewable energy independent power producers programme.
Motsepe said that AREP struggled to acquire six solar photovoltaics projects awarded by the department of energy to an American company, SunEdison, to generate 398MW of renewable energy, until it was appointed as a BEE partner and committed R139 million of its money.
Motsepe said that he supported the developmental role of Eskom and did not support the privatisation of the power utility.
“I have over the years reiterated my support of the developmental role that Eskom has to play and to provide affordable electricity to all South Africans and in particular to the poor, unemployed, and marginalised,” Motsepe said.
“I, however, have never supported the privatisation of Eskom or the sale of any of its entities or assets. AREP or any company that I am associated with will therefore not participate not be part of any sale or disposal of any entities or assets of Eskom.”
Motsepe said AREP has introduced additional governance and ethical rules, an would engage with stakeholders and seek advice as to what additional measures can be put in place to deal with perception of favoritism against his company. (ANA)