OPINION

Unlawful Strategic Fuel Fund sale must be reversed – Pieter van Dalen

DA says president must suspend Minister until investigation conclusively exonerates her from any wrong doing

Unlawful Strategic Fuel Fund Sale must be reversed; Minister Pettersson suspended

26 September 2016

The report from the Auditor-General,  in the Central Energy Fund’s 2015/16 AFS, into the sale of the Strategic Fuel Fund’s (SFF) fuel stock has found glaring irregularities and has been declared by the A-G to be unlawful.                     

The DA will write to the Minister of Energy,  Tina Joemat-Pettersson, demanding that she reverse this dubious transaction immediately. This will prevent the state from buying back fuel for the SFF at higher prices and wasting billions of public money through a loss making exercise.

The DA will also write to President Jacob Zuma, urging him to suspend Minister Joemat-Pettersson until an investigation conclusively exonerates her from any wrong doing.

This unlawful sale generated only R3.9 billion in revenue as opposed to the R5 billion originally claimed by the SFF senior leadership.

The Auditor General also found that the sale transaction did not adhere to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) on two counts:

- The SFF did not inform National Treasury of the sale transaction according to section 54(2)(d) and;

- The entity did not take reasonable care in safeguarding a public asset according to section 51(1)(c).

Given that the SFF have been sternly reprimanded by the Auditor General and are currently being investigated for these activities flowing directly from a Ministerial directive from the Minister of Energy, it is untenable that the Minister should retain her position while such an investigation is undertaken. The Minister even stated in her directive that the integrity of our Strategic Stocks levels must be assured in all instances. This has not been achieved.

With urgent funds required for Higher Education and other major economic issues facing South Africa at the moment, we cannot allow this illicit sale of fuel to be rubber stamped. 

The DA will continue to fight for transparency and accountability when it comes to state resources so that money meant for the people, is spent on the people by creating jobs and delivering better services.

Issued by Pieter van Dalen, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Energy, 26 September 2016