Gas, oligarchs, iron and mining: The Russian money that may be behind SA's pro-Kremlin stance

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President Cyril Ramaphosa is welcomed by President Vladimir Putin of Russia at the official dinner in honour of Heads of State and Government attending the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi. (GCIS)
President Cyril Ramaphosa is welcomed by President Vladimir Putin of Russia at the official dinner in honour of Heads of State and Government attending the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi. (GCIS)

A proposed R7 billion gas plant in Nelson Mandela Bay, a manganese mine in the Kalahari and an innovative iron processing plant in Limpopo all have one thing in common – Russian money.

United Manganese of Kalahari is part-owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, previously the largest shareholder of Russian mining giant Rosal, through an opaque Cyprus-based trust, New African Manganese Investments, and was the first company in decades granted prospecting rights on land mostly owned by the state in 2005.

It has become the country's fourth-largest manganese miner and, in 2021, donated R5 million to the ANC. It is also part-owned by Chancellor House, the ANC's investment arm. Chancellor House Trust donated R15 million to the ANC in 2021.

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