Radical restructuring at Central Energy Fund under way - Kubayi

Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi. (File photo: Nasief Manie)
Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi. (File photo: Nasief Manie)

Cape Town - The Central Energy Fund, which is the custodian of PetroSA, will undergo rigorous restructuring in the current financial year to ensure more transparency and better accountability, said Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi on Friday. 

Delivering her maiden budget speech for the 2017/18 financial year, Kubayi said following the report on the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF) and challenges at PetroSA, her department has considered the best ways to improve governance and accountability by the subsidiaries within the Central Energy Fund (CEF).

"In order to achieve this, we will in the coming months be embarking on restructuring of the CEF group and create a model that makes it easy for accountability and ensures the entity operates efficiently and in a professional manner.

"As part of the restructuring, the office of government's Independent Power Producer (IPP) programme will also resort under the CEF," Kubayi said. 

In addition, the restructuring of the CEF group will involve the transfer of African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation AEMFC and the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) to the Department of Mineral Resources. 

Director general of energy Thabane Zulu will act as the CEO of SFF on a secondment basis, Kubayi said. "This is to ensure that we are able to implement the recommendations in light of the report on the selling of strategic fuel reserves for the country."

Deputy director general Tseliso Maqubela will then act as the director general for the period in question, she added. 

Kubayi said she will wait for the final report from the CEF on the problems plaguing PetroSA and will then provide direction on the way forward. 

She reiterated that the IPP programme remains a critical part of South Africa's energy mix, but added that government needs to look at how best to assist small and medium enterprises interested in participating in the programme. 

South Africa's Integrated Energy Plan and Integrated Resource Plan will be finalised in the current financial year, Kubayi said. 

"These energy plans will outline how we intend to meet our energy policy objectives, including to increasing energy access, energy efficiency, localisation and skills development and increase energy security, diversify our energy mix, reduce water usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Kubayi said investors evaluate a country on whether there are policy certainties. 

Still on track for nuclear

The energy minister repeated her previous statements that government will continue with its intention to pursue a nuclear build programme, albeit in a transparent manner. 

"Following the court judgment and our decision not to appeal the judgment, we will proceed with the signing of the new intergovernmental agreements with the five countries and submit to Parliament within reasonable time," she said.

"We will review all the determinations to ensure compliance with the judgment. We continue to reiterate our commitment to an open dialogue about nuclear as well as demonstrating transparency and accountability during the process." 

Kubayi, former chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services, and previously an ANC whip, was appointed in President Jacob Zuma’s midnight Cabinet reshuffle at the end of March, replacing Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

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