EXCLUSIVE: PetroSA said to be on verge of promoting previously suspended officials
Cape Town – A fresh furore over structural changes in the executive leadership of the beleaguered PetroSA has sources close to the entity claiming individuals are trying to keep the state capture project going at the entity.
Sources have told Fin24 that three executive positions that do not exist in the company’s current organogram have been advertised internally in a bid to undermine formal structures at the organisation. The source said individuals who have long faced allegations of impropriety could soon be calling the shots at PetroSA.The state owned company has suffered various setbacks, including a R1.4bn loss in the 2016-17 financial year and the resignation of board members in the midst of its financial bedlam.
PetroSA board itself to blame
However, Makasi told Fin24 the PetroSA board itself was to blame. He denied any interference with board matters saying that only the board could have approved new positions at PetroSA.He said the PetroSA interim board had not responded positively to the CEF’s calls to probe its contracts. He said the board failed to appoint a chief financial officer despite having a dozen applications for the job.
Makasi said the CEF gave the PetroSA board multiple opportunities to present them with a plan that would turn PetroSA around, but that they failed to present one which would turn the entity’s fortunes around and reduce its exposure to risk. He said consultations to address this was ongoing.
“We will have to speak to the minister [Jeff Radebe] before responding to the details in some of your questions so as not to skip protocol and undermine the minister. But we do intend to submit a plan to the department within the next week,” Makasi said.
The Department of Energy is keeping a tight lid on how it plans to stabilise PetroSA’s leadership structures and operations ahead of its meeting with Parliament’s portfolio committee.
The imbroglio surrounding the fuel reserves not only means that SA lost R3bn in the sale, but may have to fork out a further R6bn to replace the oil barrels or buy them back. The CEF is also seeking a court declaration invalidating the sale.
This comes amid speculation that for years there have been moves afoot to keep PetroSA perpetually incapacitated to deal with its various fronts of instability. This includes the appointment of interim boards on contracts and executives being hamstrung in multiple positions, sources say.
“We resolved that we are not going to make any pronouncement until the minister briefs the media of the state of his new portfolio. I guess you would understand, we would not want to jump the gun on matters the minister would address,” Central Energy Fund spokesperson Jacky Mashapu told Fin24.