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SA says DNG’s challenge to power award ‘without merit’

And ‘self serving.’
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa said a legal challenge to its award of a power supply contract worth an estimated R218 billion ($16 billion) by DNG Energy was “without merit” and “self serving.”

In his answering affidavit to DNG’s demand to be named as a preferred bidder in an emergency power round, the head of the country’s Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme Office said DNG’s bids were disqualified because they were inadequate.

DNG had demanded that it be appointed to provide about 1 220 megawatts of electricity by August 2022 in place of Turkey’s Karpowership, alleging that the process had been tainted by corruption. The IPP office refuted this. The case will be heard July 14-16 in South Africa’s High Court.

“The applicant has failed to show any illegality in the tender process,” said Tshifhiwa Bernard Magoro, the head of the IPP Office in the affidavit. “The applicant’s bid did not meet the qualifying criteria.”

The case could derail the government’s attempts to ease electricity shortages that have hobbled the economy for more than a decade as most winning bids need to meet financial close by the end of July. The procurement of emergency power was instigated to partially ease a crisis caused by the inability of state power utility, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., to meet the country’s needs.

Karpowership

Karpowership’s bid has attracted criticism because it won an exemption from a local-content requirement and because it locks the country into using natural gas, a fossil fuel, for two decades. DNG’s bids were also based on gas-fired plants.

Magoro’s affidavit also responded on behalf of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.

“The applicants bids were disqualified because they did not comply with a plethora of qualification criteria,” he said. Magoro listed DNG’s alleged inability to prove it owned land where it planned to build plants, secure financial backing, comply with environmental requirements and prove that it could supply interrupted power.

“DNG issued its application without us having sight of the record and to this date we haven’t had sight of the full record,” the company said in a response to queries. “It is therefore irresponsible for any party to comment or make sweeping statements on whether we qualified or not when we haven’t been given the record and time to scrutinise the full record.”

Magoro also said DNG failed to provide evidence of corruption.

“The inescapable inference is that the applicant’s allegations are self-serving and its claim to be acting in the public interest is baseless,” he said.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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I wonder who would be brave enough to dig down deep into the dark recesses of the Powerships deal? I have no doubt that there is malfeasance to uncover…. But at risk to life and limb.

DNG is the perfect witness to any attempted corruption, but its no use to complain to the alleged perps about it.
Cadre Mantashe should step aside and retire and allow a properly qualified person to have a go at this portfolio. Being squeaky clean should also be required, so I suppose the job will have to be contracted out.

There has been already a lot of digging going on, by Amabhungane (dungbeetles) for example. The investigative journo group that writes regularly also for Daily Maverick. Search for their articles with a search engine. No time now to retrieve the links for now. The whole RMIPPPP program does not make any sense, economically and ecologically. Prices for power are too high, can all be below R 1/kWh.

End of comments.

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