The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy has resolved, in principle, on the terms of reference that will guide an inquiry into allegations of corruption and malfeasance during the process of appointing preferred bidders in the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP).
Eleven successful bidders were selected by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to provide 1 995 MW of additional electricity generation capacity through a variety of energy sources.
The RMIPPPP is administered by the DMRE through the Independent Power Producer Office as part of the DMRE’s intervention to procure, on an urgent basis, 2 000 MW from IPPs to address electricity generating capacity deficits.
The majority of the new capacity is to be provided by Karpowership, which intends to generate electricity from gas, with ships to be based in the ports of Richards Bay, Ngqura and Saldanha Bay for a 20-year period.
Gas-to-power company DNG Energy, however, launched court action to halt the projects, alleging corruption in the process of selecting the preferred bidders for the RMIPPPP.
The inquiry, for which potential witnesses will be identified and invited to attend, is scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2022, and will proceed for a period not exceeding 120 days.
Committee chairperson Sahlulele Luzipo says that although the committee will make the inquiry convenient for people who need to participate, it may still have to subpoena those who refuse to cooperate.
The committee also adopted its first-quarter programme for 2022, which, among other things, includes a colloquium on issues related to fuel, the period of the RMIPPPP inquiry as well as the yearly reports and audit outcomes of the Central Energy Fund, the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator.
The programme also includes consequence management in relation to forensic reports within the DMRE and its entities.