Week in review: Oilgate, tension at Zondo Commission, Engen explosion, Tongaat turnaround

By Melani Nathan 

  • The high court in Cape Town recently reversed the sale of SA’s entire strategic fuel stock by corrupt officials in 2015 and awarded compensation to the buyers, including for hedging losses. The deal, closed by the then acting CEO of the Strategic Fuel Fund, Sibusiso Gumede, was done without Treasury permission under the guise of a “stock rotation”. It was signed off by then energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. The 3-million barrels were sold to Taleveras Group and joint ventures of Vitol Group and Glencore. Vitol has been exposed in more corruption, this time in Latin America. It paid bribes to officials in state owned oil companies Petrobras, Petroleos Mexicanos and Petroecuador. Glencore is also under scrutiny for corruption in several countries. Trafigura, the second biggest independent oil trader faces civil court in Brazil. Prosecutors allege that Trafigura paid bribes to Petrobas.
  • At the Zondo Commission this week, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has categorically denied all the allegations brought by the former Sars commissioner Tom Moyane. Gordhan was cross-examined by Advocate Dali Mpofu, and was accused of being racist, petty, corrupt and arrogant. At the start of the inquiry, Gordhan said he had evidence that Moyane was involved in state capture. However, he failed to present any concrete proof except to say that he had heard about Moyane’s dealings. On Moyane’s allegation that he is racist, Gordhan maintained he was innocent “All allegations have no factual basis. I am emphatically a non-racialist; my 50 years in the (ANC) movement is proof of that.”, said Gordhan. Mpofu cited how Gordhan had called Moyane ‘cheeky,’ telling him to grow up during an encounter at a Sars meeting. Meanwhile the Zondo commission’s secretary, Professor Itumeleng Mosala, has filed an application at the Constitutional Court to have former president Jacob Zuma summonsed to testify in January and February next year. The ex-statesman walked out of the commission shortly after filing a recusal against Judge Ray Zondo. While Zondo dismissed the application to recuse himself on the grounds of insufficient bias and evidence, the former president violated Zondo’s instruction to remain and testify. In his application to the Constitutional Court, Mosala said it was imperative that Zuma appear. The former president has been implicated by 34 witnesses in dealings with state capture and the Guptas.
  • Glencore announced that Ivan Glasenberg will retire as CEO and as a member of the Glencore Board during the first half of next year. Gary Nagle will then become the Glencore CEO and join the Board. Tony Hayward, Chairman said: “The Board has worked with Ivan over the past two years to oversee a seamless transition to the next generation of leadership across Glencore’s business. Gary Nagle has held senior roles in coal and ferroalloys in Colombia, South Africa and Australia. He has been on the Board’s radar for more than several years and was selected following a succession process overseen by the Board. We are confident that he has the right skill set and qualities to lead the Glencore of tomorrow.”
  • Tongaat-Hulett announced it has managed to be profitable. In June 2019, the sugar producer saw its share price dive 95% amid the scandal that rocked the integrity of company. The group saw a year-on-year increase in operating profit of about 70%. ‘This result is due to an excellent performance from all the sugar operations and good overall business momentum, which reflects continued progress with the business turnaround strategy’, says Tongaat. The Engen oil refinery in south Durban exploded this morning. Emergency services are currently on the scene trying to defuse the flames. The cause of the explosion is still not clear. The community around the area are still in shock and those who work at the refinery could not go to work.
  • The Engen oil refinery in south Durban exploded this morning. Emergency services were on scene to douse the flames. The cause of the explosion is still not clear. groundWork and South Durban Community Environmental Alliance have previously called for the refinery to shut down. The explosion occurred while Petroleum Agency of South Africa is in Durban to visit the Merebank community on a number of issues. The explosion highlights the concerns of the community such as the lack of transparency in public access to documents, impact on people’s health and safety including emergency, disaster and contingency plans. And who will be liable for incidents, accidents and explosions that impact the people and the environment. Bobby Peek of groundWork gave a statement by phone, shortly after the explosion.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa announced stricter lockdown measures for the Eastern Cape metropolitan area of Nelson Mandela Bay. Curfews and restrictions on alcohol consumption and sales are back, but initiations will be allowed in the province. The decision is a warning shot to residents in other provinces to stick to wearing masks, social distancing, hand-washing and other steps to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
  • Read also: Alec Hogg: Oilgate Scandal laid bare – how SFF’s crooked CEO cost SA a fortune

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