It’s November 2021. The mood is electric at COP26 — the global climate negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland. World leaders are congratulating South Africa on its landmark Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) deal: $8.5bn in funding will be provided from developed countries to allow South Africa to wean itself off coal. It heralds a new era of renewables — and it’s a coup for a jubilant President Cyril Ramaphosa.

But there is one conspicuous absence from the conference floor: mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe is nowhere to be seen...

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