Gwede Mantashe has three face masks that he rotates in and out of the laundry each day when he braves the outside world to perform his duties as mineral resources & energy minister. At 65 next month, Mantashe falls into the vulnerable group that runs a higher risk of dying of Covid-19, should they contract the coronavirus. "I’m 65 and everybody above 60 who comes into contact with Covid — the next stop is the grave," he jokes.

Well, sort of. The virus is indeed among the handful of things that keeps Mantashe up at night. The others largely fall under the energy portion of his portfolio — a sector fraught with tension and contention that came under his charge a year ago, when it was merged with mineral resources...

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