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Sold fuel reserves still stored in SA tanks - Kubayi

Oct 10 2017 15:54
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has confirmed that the country's strategic fuel stock, that was controversially sold off in late 2015, is still stored in South African tanks, and the government has the money it earned from the sale.

Kubayi and a delegation from the Department of Energy were briefing Parliament on the department's financial report for 2016/17 on Tuesday.

The DA's Gordon Mackay asked the minister to give an update on the investigation into the sale, the status of the fuel, and whether those implicated in the sale had been disciplined.

“Yes, the fuel stock is still in our tanks,” Kubayi said, “and we have the money.”

The sale of 10.3 million barrels of SA's strategic oil reserves took place in December 2015, at a time when oil prices were at a historical low point.

Former Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson at first described the sale as a standard 'rotation' of fuel stocks. But earlier this year Kubayi acknowledged the fuel had in fact been sold.  

Kubayi had previously said that her department would seek to nullify the sale of the fuel stocks in an upcoming court case, which would determine if South Africa still has access to the fuel stocks it had sold.

On Tuesday Marshall Dlamini from the EFF asked Kubayi what exactly she wants to achieve with the court case.

“What do you want the court to do? Are you going to give back the money you earned from the fuel stocks sale? Are you going to give them their money back with interest? Have you spoken to those traders? Or are you going to pay back the money on the current rate of where the market (oil price) is now?”

Kubayi responded that she couldn't pre-empt the outcome of the court case, adding that the matter was very “delicate”.

On Mackay’s question about action against alleged transgressors, Kubayi said she would deal with people implicated in the sale at a later stage.

“We ask Parliament to allow the department the space to finalise its work on this matter.” 

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