THE Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry is shocked at the plan by the Government’s Strategic Fuel Fund to buy Cape Town’s Chevron refinery and 845 Caltex petrol service stations.
“What we need is fewer government-run businesses and not more,” said Ms Janine Myburgh, President of the Chamber.
“The plain truth is that State Owned Enterprises have been a disaster. Look at Eskom and its costly attempts to build new power stations. Look at SAA, PetroSA and the Post Office which all run at huge losses. They don’t contribute to economic growth, they retard it,” she said.
“What makes this even more frightening is that the Strategic Fuel Fund would be used to buy and manage the refinery and its retail outlets. The SFF has no understanding of business. They proved this when they sold off the country’s entire fuel reserves for the equivalent of $28 a barrel at a time when the world oil prices ranged between $37 and $44 a barrel. That decision looks even worse now with the oil price close to $50 a barrel.”
Ms Myburgh said the R11 billion the refinery would cost would be better spent on the universities and technical education. “That, at least, would be an investment in the future of our people.”
If the government did not buy the refinery there would probably be a normal commercial sale and the refinery would continue to produce fuel and its 845 petrol stations would continue to provide a service to the public and pay taxes. “It just does not make sense. People will soon be looking for ulterior motives,” Ms Myburgh said