CAPE TOWN- A South African court has dismissed an application against a state emergency power tender that aims to end years of debilitating electricity shortages, the government said on Monday.

Alleging interference by senior energy officials that tainted the process to procure 2,000 megawatts (MW), South African firm DNG Energy sought to overturn a March 2021 decision picking several preferred bidders, including Turkey's Karpowership.

"The court decision enables the government and (power utility) Eskom to finalise its governance and regulatory approval processes to conclude financial close with ... preferred bidders by end March 2022," an energy ministry statement said, welcoming the decision.

Besides Karpowership, which operates a fleet of powerships and will provide ship-to-shore electricity when eventually anchored at three coastal sites, Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power and other firms such as Oya Energy and Umoyilanga Energy were also shortlisted.

The ministry said it expected that selected projects will be operational and ready to augment generation capacity a year after financial closure. The government expects the projects to inject around 45 billion rand ($2.90 billion) into South Africa's economy.

However, the chief executive of DNG Energy said the company had reviewed the high court judgement and considered there to be ample grounds for an appeal.

"We will definitely be appealing it," Aldworth Mbalati told Reuters.

The tender for 2,000 MW, launched three years ago when South Africa suffered some of the worst power cuts in a decade, aimed to find the cheapest and quickest options to ease a shortage that has cost the continent's most industrialised economy billions of dollars.

Any further delays would prolong South Africa's energy woes, with economic growth constrained by a lack of electricity as power utility Eskom is forced to cut electricity in rolling blackouts to prevent the national power grid from collapsing. ($1 = 15.5139 rand)

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Kirsten Donovan) ((; +27 21 461 3523;))