Set aside political crony’s R21bn gas tender: Kevin Mileham

Set aside political crony’s R21bn gas tender: Kevin Mileham

A controversial gas tender awarded to a man who was named 176 times in the Mpati Commission report into malfeasance at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) should be terminated with immediate effect. That is the call from Kevin Mileham, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy following earlier warnings by his party that Equator Holdings “run, owned, and managed” by Lawrence Mulaudzi does not have the money and technical skills to fulfil the tender requirement of rebuilding PetroSA’s critical gas infrastructure – and is now “shopping around” for potential funders and technical partners for the project. “PetroSA is a failing State-owned entity. And you don’t fix that by giving tenders to cronies,” Mileham says. Meanwhile Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe “is very, very quiet about this whole issue” – and is “more interested in campaigning right now than in dealing with the issues in the entities that are under his control”.

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Highlights from the interview

In a recent interview with Chris Steyn, Kevin Mileham, the Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, discussed concerns surrounding a 21 billion rand gas tender awarded to Equator Holdings. The tender, intended for refurbishing the gas pipeline and FA platform in Mossel Bay, raised alarm due to the company’s controversial owner, Lawrence Mulaudzi, implicated in previous inquiries related to the Public Investment Corporation.

Mileham highlighted the lack of transparency in the tender award process, citing unanswered PAIA requests for details on Equator Holdings’ qualifications and funding capabilities. He emphasized that Mulaudzi’s company lacks the track record and experience required for such a significant project, raising doubts about its ability to execute effectively.

The interview underscored broader issues of tender premiership, where connections and cronyism trump competence in government contracts. Mileham stressed the need for rigorous due diligence and fair processes to ensure that tenders are awarded based on merit, particularly in critical sectors like energy infrastructure.

Amid Minister Gwede Mantashe’s silence on the matter, Mileham hinted at potential legal actions and appeals to review the tender award, aiming for transparency, accountability, and effective utilization of public resources in South Africa’s development initiatives.

Extended transcript of the interview ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

00:00:05:15 – 00:00:19:03
Chris Steyn: There are calls for the 21 billion rand gas tender to be canceled with immediate effect. We speak to Kevin Mileham, the Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy. Welcome, Kevin.

00:00:19:05 – 00:00:20:10
Kevin Mileham: Good morning, Chris.

00:00:20:12 – 00:00:23:01
Chris Steyn: Kevin, exactly what was this tender awarded for?

00:00:23:03 – 00:00:46:21
Kevin Mileham: So, this tender was to refurbish the gas pipeline and the FA platform in Mossel Bay. It’s a 22 billion rand tender that was awarded to a company called Equator Holdings in December last year, under RFP004.

00:00:47:11 – 00:00:49:07
Chris Steyn: Kevin, who runs this company?

00:00:49:09 – 00:01:01:10
Kevin Mileham: The company is owned and managed by a gentleman called Lawrence Mulaudzi. He’s quite a controversial character with a rather colorful past.

00:01:01:12 – 00:01:07:11
Chris Steyn: Is he not the same person mentioned 176 times in the Mpati commission report?

00:01:07:13 – 00:01:16:18
Kevin Mileham: Yes, the exact same person. He’s also the one who had his Bentley repossessed for nonpayment.

Read more: In response to Dr Kemm: Nuclear? Not just yet… – Kevin Mileham

00:01:21:15 – 00:01:43:14
Chris Steyn: What was he implicated in the Mpati commission report? What was that inquiry about?

00:01:21:15 – 00:01:43:14
Kevin Mileham: That inquiry was related to the Public Investment Corporation and various issues surrounding it. Mulaudzi was implicated, although no charges have been pressed yet. It’s something that will need addressing.

00:02:05:07 – 00:02:34:16
Kevin Mileham: We put in a PAIA request in January for the record of decision on how this tender was awarded, but we’ve received no response from Petro SA or the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.

00:02:43:09 – 00:03:05:11
Kevin Mileham: No, not at all. He’s been shopping for financial and technical partners because his company lacks the track record and experience required for this project.

00:03:53:03 – 00:04:11:01
Kevin Mileham: We cannot allow tenders to be awarded based on connections rather than competence if South Africa is to progress.

00:05:46:12 – 00:05:48:10
Chris Steyn: So you’d like to see this tender re-issued?

00:05:48:10 – 00:06:08:21
Kevin Mileham: We believe there are solid grounds for the tender to be reviewed and possibly set aside due to the questionable award process.

00:06:14:01 – 00:06:32:00
Kevin Mileham: Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has been silent on this issue, more focused on campaigning than addressing these concerns.

00:06:36:02 – 00:06:56:10
Kevin Mileham: We’re pursuing legal remedies and appealing the PAIA application to understand how this decision was made and take necessary steps.

00:07:05:15 – 00:07:21:23
Chris Steyn: Thank you, Kevin Mileham, the Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, calling for the termination of a 21 billion rand gas tender. Thank you, Kevin, and I’m Chris Steyn.

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