“Government’s Lack Of Transparency And Nonchalance To Climate Change Is Appalling”

The Green Connection Comment – PetroSA and Equator Holdings:

The Green Connection is appalled by the actions of government and PetroSA, following a recent media report that Equator Holdings has been appointed to fund and rebuild critical gas infrastructure. “From what we understand from the story (produced by the AmaBungane Centre for Investigative Journalism and published in the Daily Maverick on 23 January 2024), not only did Equator Holdings not qualify for the awarded tender, but it neither has the track record nor the required skills to handle work of this magnitude,” says Lisa Makaula, The Green Connection’s Advocacy Officer.

Makaula says that the tender requirements specified the need for an “established player or a credible financial institution” for the funding of the project. Makaula further adds, “This is why we find it is so disturbing to think that the Government and PetroSA could insist on putting work, worth over R21billion of offshore oil and gas, in the hands of an entity whose credibility is in question. But, more importantly, when we consider the impacts that climate change is having on our country, the fact is we cannot afford any more fossil fuels.”

Theza Oil and Gas has gone on record to say that Equator Holdings was foisted on them. According to The Green Connection, “As we understand it, in the media article AmaBungane alleges that the successful contractor – namely Equator Holdings – did not qualify. If this is true, then this is very concerning because the two companies are supposed to be a joint venture. This insinuates that PetroSA wanted Equator Holdings to be part of the deal and Theza Oil and Gas had no choice but to comply, if they wanted the business.” 

Makaula says, “This is the same company that lost the initial Mossel Bay bid to Gazprombank and its owner was the key figure investigated by the Mpati Commission for corruption. From the information provided by AmaBungane, it seems clear that Equator Holdings does not have the means to fund the project because, if it did, it would not have had to approach the IDC for funding.”

The Green Connection questions why, in the midst of an intensifying climate crisis, does government continue to promote fossil fuel deals, and in such a non-transparent manner? The eco-justice organisation says that actions such as these, seem to be solely for the purpose of lining the pockets of a few select individuals, while setting the country further back with our climate goals. Where is that determination, effort and political will to promote renewable energy?

According to The Green Connection’s Strategic Lead Liziwe McDaid, “We do not think such deals should be happening as they drain public money from institutions such as the IDC – which provides “niche and innovative funding products aimed at enhancing and growing the country’s industrial capabilities”. This means that deals that do not help us achieve this, should not be entertained. We are, therefore, gravely disappointed with government’s nonchalant attitude towards climate change, despite the lip-service it pays on international platforms about its commitment to the sustainable development goals. South Africans need to see the commitment not hear it,” concludes McDaid.

Join the movement and sign The Green Connection’s petition to stop offshore oil and gas exploration.


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