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    DNG Energy preparing to launch appeal in power tender battle

    December 5, 2022 - Siyabonga Sithole


      Johannesburg - DNG Energy is preparing to launch new heads of argument in its bid to fight off the Karpowership deal, which was unsuccessfully challenged in the courts in 2021.

      In January, DNG Energy lost a court case seeking to overturn the award of 2 000MW of the emergency power contracts awarded by the government to the Turkish company, Karpowership.

      The high court dismissed, with costs, the application from DNG Power Holdings to set aside the appointment of preferred bidders under the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.

      According to DNG chief executive Aldworth Mbalati, the Kapowership “unlawfully and irregularly won” the right to supply about 60% of the allotted generation capacity for 20 years. Mbalati told The Star that his legal team is preparing new heads of argument, which will be presented to the court on Monday.

      The agreement was part of the government's Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which aimed to accelerate new power generation of around 2 000MW while reducing the risk of load shedding.

      “We are launching new heads of argument in court this coming Monday. We believe that we have a strong case and that we will be vindicated by the court, and that we will win this case once we present our case before the court,” he said, adding that the Turkish company Karpowership SA had benefited unfairly from the changes made to the tender bid shortly before the deadline.

      DNG claims the bid was rigged and the deadline for interested parties to submit their bids was extended twice to favour Karpowership, resulting in the company winning the lion’s share of the energy contracts.

      “Our bid came out tops, and when the request for information was issued, we were the first to respond and met all the requirements. But when the deal was concluded, we were excluded, and Karwpowership received a special permit.

      “We fought and objected to this, and I was later told to bid for some of the sites at 40%. Our bid met all the stringent requirements, but they later changed the rules to ensure that Karpowership wins the tender,” he said.

      Mbalati said the media is being used to attack him and the company, due to his firm stand against corruption.

      “I have been in court and in the media ever since I challenged this deal. They are trying to portray me as some dodgy character, but all we ever do is do business in a very straight and narrow manner.

      “And we will continue to do our business in a straight and narrow fashion, without fear. Now they are trying to call me a disgruntled bidder and a sore loser, all because we are fighting corruption and injustice,” he said.

      Mbalati believes that some of his foes in business and politics are responsible for the negative image he is being given in the media.

      “All these attacks against us are being waged on two fronts: one, I am being fought by my peers in the business environment. Most of them are white people, and the second faction that is fighting me is some corrupt government and political officials.

      “They are trying to drive a certain agenda and narrative against us through the media. They have now clubbed together to give us a bad name through the media, because we have exposed the corruption that took place in the awarding of the Karpowership deal,” Mbalati said.

      In the past, Mbalati has alleged that the tender was manipulated to favour Karpowership, adding that he has been the victim of a campaign by senior government officials and a businessman associated with Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, who called him before the announcement of the bidder to “work within a system”.

      “I received a call from the minister’s associate telling me I should work within a system in order to get the tender, but I refused,” he said.

      In a statement, the company denied winning the tender irregularly adding that the allegations against it are alarming as they had followed all the processes.

      “The false allegations levied by a failed bidder are alarming. .we strongly reject the allegation of impropriety on the part of Karpowership SA and as a consortium of local and international investors, we have every confidence that the South African courts will deal with this appropriately. All bidders followed the same transparent process and Karpowership SA was awarded bids because we provided the best combined package of affordability, technology, and economic development in compliance with all regulatory requirements," the company said.

      The Star


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