Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, has written to the former chairperson of the Central Energy Fund, Luvo Makasi, to say he accepts that he resigned voluntarily and was not fired.
The CEF oversees national oil company PetroSA and the Strategic Fuel Fund.
The letter, dated October 2, contradicts a previous statement by ex-energy minister Jeff Radebe, who said in March that he fired Makasi after receiving "serious allegations" of wrongdoing.
In a letter from Mantashe's office to Makasi, dated October 2, the minister writes he acknowledges the former chair of the fund resigned voluntarily and was not removed.
"...[O]ur records indicate that you voluntarily and unilaterally resigned from your position as chairperson and non-executive director of the CEF Board on Friday, 15 March 2019," Mantashe writes. "It is therefore my considered view that this acknowledgement of your voluntary resignation from the aforesaid position brigs finality to this matter, and achieves the intended objective of your written request".
Mantashe did not provide more information on the status of the allegations of wrongdoing Radebe referred to earlier in the year, or why his predecessor had said he was fired. He writes in the letter that he does not want to provide commentary on the truthfulness of comments made by Radebe.
Fired? No, resigned
In mid-March, Radebe, in a statement, said he had fired Makasi.
Radebe said at the time that after "serious allegations" were brought to his attention he first discussed them with Makasi and then asked for a written response. After considering the response, he said he fired the former CEF chair on March 15. Radebe did not at the time say what the serious allegations involved.
DA spokesperson on energy, Kevin Mileham, said in March that the opposition party intended to lay charges with police in connection with the case. In his original statement, Mileham alleged that Makasi had resigned shortly before he was set to be fired.
Radebe was replaced by Mantashe as minister of energy when Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the departments of mineral resources and energy would be merged.