Johannesburg - Chancellor House, the ANC's controversial investment vehicle, is expected to announce the sale of its 25% stake in Hitachi Power within six weeks, according to Business Times, a weekly business paper, which broke the news on Sunday.
"We have advised Chancellor House of our desire to exit from Hitachi as quickly as possible, and they are in the process of doing so," Mathews Phosa, the ANC's treasurer, told Business Times. "My expectation is that this will be done in the next six weeks."
Business Times observed, however, that there would be scepticism about such a move because Phosa had previously announced plans for such a sale, while ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said this week the party would exit its Hitachi investment only if the rules on political funding were changed for all parties.
Hitachi Power was awarded a R38.5bn contract in 2008 to build boilers at Eskom's new coal-fired 4 800MW Medupi power station. Eskom was last week granted a $3.75bn loan from the World Bank, enough to complete building of Medupi.
However, the loan is considered controversial because building Medupi flies in the face of some World Bank member countries' commitment to green practices. The World Bank has also said the loan should not be used to build the Hitachi boilers.
But Phosa has put a timescale on the sale of Chancellor House's investment which indicated his seriousness, said Business Times.
"This is not a loose deadline, we want this done quickly. (The ANC) took a decision to disinvest. Initially, there were different views, but we now have agreed to disinvest, and Chancellor House has accepted that. But as a shareholder, we can only give advice to Chancellor House," he said.
He admitted the Hitachi investment was "always a borderline case" of a conflict of interest, given that government awarded the R38.5bn tender to Hitachi, in which the ruling party has an interest, Business Times reported.
"We're definitely not interested in getting involved in shady deals and taking advantage of the taxpayer to raise money. We want to set a proper example and be accountable," Phosa said.