Resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe has promoted a mineral called “Hazenile” to investors at a mining conference in Australia this week.
The only problem, as pointed out by Business Day, is that “Hazenile” is a made-up mineral from an April Fools’ joke.
Hazenile was written about on the Smart Energy International website on 1 April 2019 – with large red text clearly stating it was a joke article for the day.
This did not stop the South African government department from putting it in Mantashe’s speech, stating it was excellent news for the battery industry.
The minister told investors at the conference that Hazenile was “discovered in abundance in the area between the crypte and throne room caves in the Congo Caves in the Western Cape”.
The blatant misspelling of Cango Caves as “Congo” was also copied directly into Mantashe’s speech.
A department spokesperson said it is unfortunate that the focus is now on Mantashe’s mention of Hazenile – which the spokesperson called “fake news”.
Business Day reported that the massive error could further damage South Africa’s reputation.