'Energy? She has no clue': Gwede Mantashe denies wife involved in emergency power deal

Mantashe was responding to a question by EFF MP Andrew Arnolds at the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday afternoon.

Aphiwe Deklerk Political reporter
Minister Gwede Mantashe. File photo.
Minister Gwede Mantashe. File photo.
Image: GCIS

Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe has denied involvement of his wife in the awarding of a multibillion-rand tender for the supply of emergency power.

Mantashe was responding to a question by EFF MP Andrew Arnolds during a question-and-answer session at the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday afternoon. Arnolds had questioned why Mantashe's department was involved in the deal and whether his wife, Nolwandle, or her associates were involved in the tender.

Mantashe's name first came up when losing tender bidder, Aldworth Mbalati, the founder and CEO of DNG Power Holdings, challenged in court the awarding of the 2,000MW project to Karpowership SA.

In his affidavit, he makes allegations of rigging — allegations which implicate Nolwandle, though he does not name her directly.

Replying to Arnolds, Mantashe said: “Let me tell you, because you follow newspapers and speculation, even articles written [about] a failed bidder making the following accusations, it's in court papers, we will deal with that in court papers.

“But I can assure you, Honourable Arnolds, when you go through that process you will discover that my wife does not even smell close to that process. Actually, she has no clue about energy. She is a nurse and she has worked in the mines. Mining, she knows. Energy, she has no clue.”

He said he didn't know about any associates as he had only read about it in newspapers.

His department had previously stated that it was opposing the court application.

Mbalati wants the high court to review the disqualification of DNG Power Holdings from the tender and stop the government from signing or implementing agreements with the preferred bidder.

The tender has met criticism from certain sectors due to the inclusion of Turkey’s Karpowership which will use three power ships to provide the emergency power.

Mantashe defended the power ships, saying the government needed emergency energy and had it not done the procurement, it would be criticised for not doing so.

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