Mantashe suffers pushback on his favourite PetroSA CEO candidate

Cabinet this week stalled Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe’s appointment of Nkululeko Stephen Poya as chief executive officer of the Petroleum and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA) following serious allegations levelled against him.

Poya started attracting controversy after he was implicated by a PWC report that accused him, among others, of breaching the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) while he was CEO of Railway Safety Regulation between 2013 and 2016.

He is also accused, in another report, of interfering with tender processes while he was COO and acting CEO of the Housing Department Agency between 2020 and 2022.

Poya resigned after a whistleblower exposed him.

He was also red-flagged by the State Security Agency (SSA).

In recent months, Poya submitted a fraudulent court order, which was supposed to show that he had taken the PWC report for review shortly after Sunday World sent him a list of questions about it.

“I am a victim of circumstances, and my enemies don’t want me to succeed.” He admitted to submitting a fraudulent court order after he was allegedly misled by his lawyers, whom he failed to name.

This week, Mantashe tried to get the cabinet to endorse Poya’s appointment as PetroSA CEO, but the move failed.

Moles within the cabinet confirmed to Sunday World that Poya’s appointment was discussed after Mantashe tried to push for his appointment.

After a heated debate among cabinet members, our moles say the appointment was put in abeyance until the next cabinet meeting in December, pending the conclusion of a vetting process.

Sunday World learnt that Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni was uncompromising about Poya’s lack of vetting status.

Cogta minister Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma and Dirco minister Naledi Pandor backed Ntshavheni. On Mantashe’s corner were Small Business Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Mondli Gungubele, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, and Human Settlements Minister Mamoloko Kubayi.

Yesterday Mantashe said, “I don’t talk about cabinet discussions with journalists.”

The minister had previously asked this publication to furnish him with all the reports implicating Poya. This was so he could study them and make up his mind.

But Mantashe failed to come to us after we gave him an extension to study the reports.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson for mineral resources and energy, Kevin Mileham, said he was shocked by reports that Poya was recommended for another top post.

“This is extremely worrying as Poya is the subject of two criminal investigations related to maladministration, corruption, and the unlawful surveillance and cellphone
interception of his fellow board members.

“The DA will thus write to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, to request [an explanation] on what basis Poya was recommended, given the serious allegations levelled against him.” Mileham said.

Another source within the ruling party claims Mantashe is hellbent on appointing Poya because he has a close relationship with the minister’s wife, Nolwandle.

Mantashe previously told Sunday World that his wife doesn’t influence his decisions.

“Poya’s connection with my wife has nothing to do with me. If there’s something wrong in their relationship, focus on it and leave me alone.” Mantashe said.

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