The minister of energy, Jeff Radebe, has announced the removal of Luvo Makasi as the director and chairperson of the Central Energy Fund board.
An entity of the Department of Energy, the Central Energy Fund (CEF) manages defined energy interests on behalf of government including the development of the country’s oil and gas assets.
“On 15 March 2019, the Minister of Energy [Jeff Radebe] removed Mr Luvo Makasi as Director and Chairperson of the Board of CEF. This followed serious allegations that were brought to the attention of the minister,” said the Ministry of Energy said in a statement on Saturday.
The allegations were discussed with Makasi at a meeting held on 8 March.
Makasi responded to the written allegations on Monday.
“Having considered Mr Makasi’s written response, the Minister, on Friday, wrote to Mr Makasi removing him from the CEF Board and as Chairperson,” read the statement.
However, an hour before he was dismissed for allegedly attempting to solicit a bribe of $2.5m from oil trading firms on behalf of senior politicians and officials, including deputy president David Mabuza, Makasi handed in his resignation.
The Department of Energy insisted on Saturday that minister Jeff Radebe remove Makasi on Friday after these “serious allegations that were brought to the attention of the minister” came to light.
Alleged corruption at the Central Energy Fund
Makasi is alleged to have attempted to solicit a bribe of $2.5 million from Glencore and Vitol. The bribe was allegedly solicited on behalf of deputy president David Mabuza, minister of energy Radebe, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile, and senior officials in the department during a meeting in November 2018.
It is alleged that Makasi asked for the bribe in a meeting with a ‘Mr Harvey’ so that a court case between the state-owned entity, CEF and the companies would be resolved.
The DA shadow minister for energy, Kevin Mileham, said on Sunday that media reports appeared to imply that Radebe might only have fired Makasi to protect himself. “If this is even a possibility it must be fully investigated,” Mileham said.