By Toyin Akinosho, Publisher
Gwede Mantashe’s appointment as Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new cabinet comes with a lot of expectations.
Perhaps the most influential minister to come on board in the last 10 years, Mr. Mantashe is expected to provide much needed clarity in South Africa’s oil and gas sector.
Decades of legislative uncertainty have driven down investment in the hydrocarbon value chain. There are fewer tendencies towards new build refineries and the upstream Exploration and Production could do with far more encouraging signals.
It’s not entirely clear if the country wants to drive industrialisation with massive gas resources just outside its borders (in Mozambique and Namibia), enable the utilisation of several indigenous undeveloped discoveries struggling for financial sanctions, or improve the impetus for new finds.
Former Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, who has served in every Cabinet since Nelson Mandela was elected in 1994, is not included in Ramaphosa’s new, streamlined team of 28. Which means that the President wants transformative changes.
Mantashe is former Secretary General of the ruling party-African National Congress. He has a lot of clout. He was made Minister of Mineral Resources in a cabinet reshuffle in February 2018 and with this re-appointment, he combines the portfolios of energy and mines.
Mr. Mantashe must answer the question: “Does South Africa want to play in the oil patch”?