Nevertheless, he acknowledged on Monday that AREP had a serious perception problem, which would persist for as long as his brothers-in-law, Cyril Ramaphosa and Jeff Radebe, occupied the positions of President and Energy Minister respectively.
AREP would not dispose of its renewables assets, or withdraw from recently awarded projects. Most of its future attention, however, would be directed to the development of a renewables portfolio in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, which would be developed with support from a $100-million fund partly capitalised by African Rainbow Capital.
The company would also partner with private South African companies that intended pursuing own-generation projects to supply electricity to their mining or manufacturing operations.
Speaking during a media briefing in Sandton Motsepe said the appointment of Radebe, in particular, had been “very bad for business”, as it has created a “fundamental perception problem”. He likened it to his football team, Sundowns, playing in a CAF Champions League game where the referee and the assistant referees were relatives.
“We recognise that this is a legitimate concern.”
Allegations over conflict first came to the fore last year when Radebe approved the signing of 27 renewable-energy projects that had been delayed for three years as a result of Eskom’s refusal to sign power purchase agreements for the projects, procured during the fourth bid window of the Renewable Independent Power Producer Procurement Progamme (REIPPPP).
The “misrepresentations and lies” had intensified, however, after Ramaphosa announced in his 2019 State of the Nation Address that Eskom would be split into separate businesses of generation, transmission and distribution. While the President insisted that all three entities would remain State owned and under Eskom Holdings, opponents slammed the unbundling as a precursor to privatisation and retrenchments.
Motsepe said he had never supported the privatisation of Eskom and promised that AREP would not participate any process involving the sale of the utility’s entities or assets, including the proposed sale of the Eskom Finance Company, which administers a home-loan book for the utility’s employees.