The haste to seal the controversial multi billion Sudan oil deal has been on the lips of many citizens. Why the rush, especially before the elections?
According to Times LIVE, Leaked communications show how energy minister Jeff Radebe pleaded with his Sudanese counterpart, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, to speed up the signing of a R14.5bn agreement that allows exploration of oil and gas to begin.
“We are proposing as a signing date the 6th of May 2019,” Radebe wrote. “We apologise for the short period, however as you know we have our national elections on the 8th of May 2019.”
Radebe is expected to fly to South Sudan to finalise the questionable deal on the eve of the elections.
This is an earlier Statement issued by Kevin Mileham MP, DA Shadow Minister of Energy,
The Democratic Alliance (DA) will submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), for the memorandum of understanding which Energy Minister Jeff Radebe signed with the Sudanese government in November last year. This follows concerning reports that the Minister is embroiled in a clandestine R14.5 billion oil deal with war-torn South Sudan.
It is alleged that Radebe and his team have already spent R20 million on this pursuit, expenditure which includes the hiring of a private jet to travel to South Sudan.
It is utterly incomprehensible that the failing ANC government has not communicated on this matter and that money is being used to fund travels for ventures which have not been condoned by the Central Energy Fund (CEF). Furthermore, this Sudanese deal has not been tabled before Cabinet for approval, nor has it been approved by the National Treasury.
Reports however indicate that Radebe seems to be set on venturing on with this deal despite serious opposition. The Minister has allegedly argued that the deal is currently only in its feasibility stage and therefore does not require higher approval. The CEF has identified the project as impractical and has subsequently rejected funding this ‘feasibility’ undertaking.
It is interesting to note that news of the deal has followed close on Radebe’s firing of the head of the CEF.
It cannot be that the Minister continues to push through this deal without consultation or engagement with the public. The South African public deserves to know why R14.5 billion of taxpayer money will spent on an oil contract with a war-torn country and where this money will come from. We cannot be left in the dark, whilst billions are being squandered.
The DA will continue to keep a close eye on any ANC attempts to embroil themselves in secretive deals which may have an element of self-enrichment.