‘We had a Gupta problem, we shouldn’t create a Motsepe problem’ – Malema on IPPs

Image credits: Twitter/Economic Freedom Fighters; Wikimedia Commons

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has repeated his claim that the renewable energy independent power producers (IPP) projects are benefitting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s family.

Addressing the Black Business Summit in Johannesburg on Thursday, Malema claimed Ramaphosa’s brother-in-law, billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe, is among those benefitting.

He said, “These IPPs, we must scrap them. They are benefitting a few elites connected to President Ramaphosa, to Patrice Motsepe, to former Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe.”

‘We shouldn’t create a Motsepe problem’

Malema emphasised the Eskom should be empowered to invest in renewable energy on its own instead of “outsourcing this responsibility to the family of the President.”

He said, “We had a problem here of a family called the Guptas. We shouldn’t create another problem of a family called Patrice Motsepe’s family.”

The Gupta family, consisting of brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh, allegedly used their proximity to former President Jacob Zuma to benefit from state contracts.

The EFF leader nevertheless said he had no problem with Motsepe or his family, but was disagreeing on the approach the government has taken.

‘Motsepe should take a back seat’

“We criticise one another because we don’t want Patrice to fall under the same category as the Guptas. He should not make such a terrible mistake as a good businessman,” Malema added.

He urged Motsepe to “take a little bit of a back seat” on matter of the state given his proximity to Ramaphosa by virtue of being his brother-in-law.

He said even if Motsepe’s companies won state-linked contracts fairly, “we’ll always suspect that this one is a brother-in-law to the President.”

Malema first made the claims in February last year, prompting Motsepe to hold a press conference soon afterwards to deny claims of impropriety.

Motsepe’s denial in 2019

He said his company, African Rainbow Energy and Power (AREP), had stakes in companies that are involved in the IPP projects.

However, he said AREP did not directly participate in bid windows 1, 2, 3 and 3.5 determined by the Department of Energy.

AREP’s then CEO Brian Dames said, “It is patently clear that every single one of the 9 REIPP projects that AREP is currently participating in and has a minority interest shareholding, were acquired from privately owned companies and not from the Department of Energy.”

Motsepe added, “Having relatives in very high positions in government justifiably raises perceptions of favouritism or improper conduct particularly in the context of the REIPPP when there is a relationship with the minister of Energy.”

Radebe was not reappointed as Minister of Energy, a position now held by African National Congress (ANC) national chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

Speaking in Parliament in August 2018, Ramaphosa also denied claims that he was advancing Motsepe’s interests.

“I have nothing to do with any person who is currently in business doing IPPs or whatever. I have nothing to do with that,” he said.

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