Energy minister Jeff Radebe has spent about R20m pursuing a mystery oil deal in South Sudan. Insiders said such expenditure is irregular. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO
Energy minister Jeff Radebe has spent about R20m pursuing a mystery oil deal in South Sudan. Insiders said such expenditure is irregular. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

Energy minister Jeff Radebe is embroiled in a mystery $1bn (R14.5bn) oil deal in war-ravaged South Sudan, but his investment pledge has raised eyebrows in government circles - and could land him in hot water.

The minister's team has already spent about R20m pursuing the mystery deal, including hiring a private jet to travel to the underdeveloped country. Insiders said such expenditure is irregular.

Radebe is pushing for SA to invest in building an oil refinery and exploring a new oil block in the east-central African country - despite having been advised against it by the state Central Energy Fund (CEF).

He told the Sunday Times that because the project was at feasibility stage it did not need approval from higher up. But he has already appointed a CEO and six experts to oversee the project.

Read the full Sunday Times story