Econ oil and tenders – Nothemba Mlonzi 

On their website, it is stated that Econ Oil company was founded in 2001 and started operations in 2003.    They also said they are is proud to be a pioneer in the provision of industrial energy solutions with an innovative customer centric approach to the way we do business. Econ Oil is a privately black female owned business and a Level 2 B-BBEE company supplying a range of fuel oils to clients in the Automotive, Energy Generation, Mining, Tyre, Milling and other industrial sectors.

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Hoe ironies dat alle vingers van korrupsie na swart bemagtiging verwys.


Nothemba Mlonzi is the Executive Director of the Company, with a legal background. She has more than eighteen years’ experience in legal practice, managing and directing companies. She has served in various boards in South Africa. Nothemba is a pioneer and a founder of Econ Oil & Energy with a hands on approach.


Advocate Nothemba Mlonzi, Chair of the Board of Directors of SANEDI


Mlonzi & Company Inc was founded by Nothemba Mlonzi in Butterworth in 1991. For the first three months after opening, she practised criminal law only and then later on included civil proceedings to her services, with conveyancing being added as an additional service in 1992.

Nothemba Mlonzi obtained her B.Proc degree in 1989 at the University of Transkei, qualified as a Conveyancing lawyer in 1992 and obtained her LLB in 1993 at the University of Fort Hare. She also obtained honours in Business Management and Administration in 1996, at the University of Stellenbosch.


The company offers a range of services including petroleum blending and refining, laboratory testing, bulk storage, fuel distribution, pump and tank installations and renewable energy solutions.

Econ Oil produces its own fuel oil that is environmentally friendly and free of minerals according to customer specifications from its Marble Hall Blending Plant. In response to the energy demand in our country, Econ Oil also offers off the grid energy solutions to industries, office buildings, malls, hospitals and other entities which have high energy consumption.

Econ Oil is registered with the Department of Minerals and Energy holding a wholesale licence in terms of the Petroleum Products Act, 1977 (Act No. 120 of 1977). The company is a member of the Black Business Council and registered with the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA).



Oil company Econ Oil officially opened the petroleum blending plant in Marble Hall on 17 October 2013, as part of its business expansion project. Nothemba Mlonzi is managing director.  Following winning a five-year contract to supply three Eskom clusters with fuel, Econ Oil saw a chance to strengthen its foothold in the industry with the new blending plant.

The company had already been supplying a number of Mpumalanga province power stations with 16-million litres of fuel on a monthly basis and had created more than 30 permanent jobs.

It also supplied 18% of Eskom’s fuel oil needs in a 2003 to 2006 contract, and continued with a 60% supply from 2006 to 2009. 

The plant was opened by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Malusi Gigaba saying;

“Economic growth is essential to addressing unemployment, gender equality, education and other social development related areas.  Since government adopted economic transformation policy, South Africa has seen a change in the structure of the economy and this can be measured through African and black participation in various sectors of the economy.  Econ Oil is a direct beneficiary of the Department of Public Enterprises’ transformation policies, which have helped a small business to succeed in an industry dominated by international oil companies.


The contracts to supply fuel oil were worth more than R15bn and included donations to the ANC, according to a forensic investigation.


8 April 2021

Econ Oil & Energy allegedly won the contracts with the help of Thandi Marah, then senior manager of business enablement at Eskom, who interfered in the tender processes, said legal firm Bowmans, which Eskom commissioned to conduct the probe. A copy of its final report dated October 12 2020 was seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by Eskom.

In return, Nothemba Mlonzi, Econ Oil’s sole director, made payments requested by Marah, including a R100,000 contribution to the ANC’s 2014 election campaign, Bowmans said.

A separate presentation made in February by Nerina Otto, Eskom’s acting group executive for legal and compliance, the authenticity of which was also confirmed by Eskom, made the same finding and alleges that Econ Oil overcharged the utility by R1.2bn between 2012 and 2016.

The finalisation of the Bowmans probe followed Eskom’s decision in July 2020 to cancel a contract that would have seen it continue to buy fuel from Econ Oil. Marah was suspended in December 2018 and took early retirement at the end of January 2019, according to the utility.

Eskom has been at the heart of a judicial probe into allegations of widespread looting of state-owned entities (SOEs), mainly by people linked to the ANC. The SOE is struggling to service its R464bn debt leading to intermittent power outages since late 2005 because it hasn’t properly maintained its plants, stifling economic growth and investment in industrial and mining projects.   Action was taken to various companies.



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