‘Half price’ sale of fuel stock pile with blessing of Energy Minister

African News Agency (ANA)

‘Half price’ sale of fuel stock pile with blessing of Energy Minister

The Democratic Alliance will ask the Auditor-General to investigate the Strategic Fuel Fund’s sale of most of the country’s crude oil stock pile without permission from National Treasury.

DA MP Pieter van Dalen said the sale of 10 million barrels of crude breached section 54 (2d) of the Public Finance Management Act which states that any public entity must in writing seek permission from Treasury before disposing of a significant asset.

Business Day reported on Thursday that the SFF retains only 300,000 barrels of crude after selling the rest of its stock for US280 million. The sale reportedly happened with the blessing of Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson but without the knowledge of the finance ministry.

Van Daalen said an investigation by the Auditor-General would bring to light the full details of the deal, including the conduct of the minister and SFF chief executive Sibusiso Gumede.

If necessary, he added, the official opposition would urge Treasury to institute criminal charges over the transaction which reportedly saw the oil sold for around US28 per barrel, while the current price is US 48 barrel.

Van Daalen noted that South Africa now only held one day’s worth of fuel reserves, compared to the required 20.

He said this meant that the economy would be brought to its knees if a major fuel crisis struck.

“Any form of embargo or fuel shortage will send our exchange rate plummeting and will result in further job losses, we cannot allow this to happen for a second time as we are still dealing with the pernicious effects of a trampled currency following the surprise axing of the finance minister in December 2015.”

South Africa Today – South Africa News

SOURCEAfrican News Agency (ANA)