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The palace politics that infected state-owned companies during the Zuma era is still the order of the day in the energy sector. Conspiracy theories and stories of bribery and corruption still circulate in anonymous WhatsApp messages and political chat groups; non-executive directors still engage inappropriately in operational transactions with private companies; and wildly ambitious business plans are still being hatched, despite financial realities. And, importantly, we are nowhere yet on holding anyone to account for what was perhaps the most brazen heist of the state-capture era: the illegal sale of SA’s entire strategic fuel stockpile. Last week energy minister Jeff Radebe was finally moved to take some action, firing the chair of the Central Energy Fund (CEF), Luvo Makasi, after an allegation that he had solicited a bribe began circulating. The claim was that Makasi had met a representative of Dutch oil trader Vitol — one of the companies that bought the strategic stocks in Dec...

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