The Department of Energy appointed Thabane Zulu as its new director general (DG).
Zulu moves from the Department of Human Settlements, where he was DG from 2009.
He comes with “immeasurable experience as an astute civil servant”, according to the department.
Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said his appointment will “bolster efforts in South Africa’s quest of entrenching an energy mix paradigm for radical economic transformation and harnessing energy access for all”.
He takes over from Dr Wolsey Barnard, who has “steered the ship” as acting DG, the department said.
Zulu holds a BAdmin (Hons) degree from the University of the Western Cape and an MBA from the Management College of Southern Africa.
He does not come without controversy.
In 2012, a “mysterious R1.4m was deposited into his personal account”, the Sunday Independent reported.
“The Sunday Independent traced the amount from a black economic empowerment company that stands to benefit from the multibillion contract awarded in January by the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) – a unit of the Social Development Department – to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) to dispense social grants,” it reported.
Zulu denied any wrongdoing.
Zulu was one of Robben Island’s youngest prisoners when he was jailed at the age of 19. He served time with Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale.