Zuma nephew wins oil probe rights in DRC
Two companies owned by Khulubuse Zuma, a nephew of President Jacob Zuma, this week landed keenly contested exploration rights to oil blocks in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Caprikat and Foxwhelp, both subsidiaries of Zuma's Impinda Group and registered in Switzerland, were awarded two oil blocks in the Lake Albert region in the eastern Congo.
The Mail & Guardian reported last year that Encha Group, controlled by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke via a family trust, had been pursuing oil rights in Albert Basin since 2006.
The Mosenekes, with businesswoman Andrea Brown's Divine Inspiration Group, had provisionally won two exploration blocks in the region.
It is understood that these are the same blocks that have now been awarded to Zuma.
Mpumelelo Tshume, acting group CEO of Impinda Group who is in charge of Impinda Energy, said on Friday the deal with the Congolese government was signed on Tuesday.
"The bidding process for the blocks took place earlier this year, but the engagement has been going on for the past two years," he said.
Tshume is a former CEO of Petroleum Oil and Gas Corporation of SA (PetroSA). He said Caprikat and Foxwhelp paid $6-million to the DRC in sign-on fees, but the value of oil in the blocks would be determined only once the fields had been developed.
"At this stage, we are estimating that there are 2billion barrels of oil in the two blocks," said Tshume.
The Congolese gave the companies 18 months to determine the quality and grade of the oil.
"We have begun preparing the business plan for the DRC project, which includes analysis of the available data, drawing up the exploration programme, assessment of the blocks' potential and finalisation of the development plans," he said.
Once the business plan is complete and exploration begins, it is intended to register the two companies in SA.
"We want to work with the South African government, which is a net importer of oil, and supply oil to the country at favourable rates."
While Zuma's energy interests appear to be on track, his mining business is still making news for the wrong reasons.
Zuma is chairman of Aurora Empowerment Systems, which last year took over the running of Pamodzi Gold's two liquidated mines, Grootvlei in Ekurhuleni and Orkney outside Klerksdorp.
On Friday, trade union Solidarity said 300 workers at Grootvlei had not been paid. It said 100 of its members at the mine were helping with care and maintenance of the mine.
Zuma said at the beginning of this month that Impinda Mining was preparing to extend a shareholders' loan to Aurora, and all outstanding wages would be paid by June 21.
On Friday, Tshume admitted that the shareholders' loan was yet to be extended to Aurora.
"The June 21 deadline to pay all outstanding wages has been missed, but that is because Impinda has not received full records from Aurora about what is owed and to whom.
"By the end of this month, Aurora will have been able to provide us with those records and the shareholders' loan will be extended," said Tshume.