The DA has welcomed the resignation of PetroSA chairman Benny Mokaba and described it a step in the right direction.

Johannesburg -

The DA on Monday welcomed the resignation of PetroSA chairman Benny Mokaba and described it as a step in the right direction.

“The chairman’s dismissal is a step in the right direction, however, it must be clearly understood that this does not constitute a disciplinary process,” said DA MP Jacques Smalle.

Smalle said the party would submit a parliamentary questions to ascertain the full reasons as to why Mokaba resigned “and whether it relates to the alleged approval by PetroSA executives of questionable payments amounting to R1 billion.

“If Mr Mokaba has been linked to irregular procurement activities he must not be allowed to simply walk away from his responsibilities and be given a golden handshake, only to later re-emerge in another public entity. He must be held accountable and the funds recovered,” he said.

Smalle said he had written to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela asking her to investigate corruption at PetroSA.

PetroSA announced on Monday that Mokaba had vacated his position at the company.

Mandla Tyala, spokesman for the Central Energy Fund (CEF) which owns the company, said CEF chairwoman Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele announced Mokaba's departure on Monday morning.

“The move follows the conclusion of an investigation which was ordered by the Minister of Energy... Dipuo Peters to investigate the robustness of the procurement system at PetroSA,” Tyala said.

“The investigation was part of an initiative by the minister to ensure adherence to good corporate governance principles and transparency at enterprises which report to the department of energy.”

Mokaba's departure was effective immediately. A preliminary report issued by the investigating team last month found several instances of inappropriate executive override of internal control systems at PetroSA.

This meant proper processes and procedures were not followed with regard to tenders and contracts at PetroSA.

The team's report also made allegations against current and former senior officials.

Tyala could not confirm whether Mokaba had chosen to resign or had been fired, nor could he confirm whether Mokaba had been implicated in the report.

Meanwhile, the department of energy said on Monday it was aware of and supported the investigation by the Hawks into allegations of criminal activity by certain employees of PetroSA.

“The department was instrumental in bringing the allegations of financial mismanagement to the attention of the Hawks...Minister of Energy (Dipuo Peters) formally directed the Central Energy Fund to investigate procurement undertaken during the period in question,” said spokeswoman Thandiwe Maimane.

Maimane said investigation focused on procurement practices at PetroSA in the recent past.

She said the department had received the final report from the CEF board and would make a pronouncement after Peters had considered its contents and recommendations. - Sapa