10-11 August 2006.


The Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology, having conducted a study tour to Sasolburg and Secunda from 10 – 11 August 2005, reports as follows:


Members Present:

The delegation, under the leadership of the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Hon. E N N Ngcobo (ANC), included Hon. S Dithebe (ANC), Hon. F Mahomed (ANC), Hon. B T Ngcobo (ANC), Hon. S N Nxumalo (ANC), Hon. J P I Blanche (DA), Hon. A M Dreyer (DA), Hon. H J Bekker (IFP), Hon. P J Nefolovhodwe (AZAPO)  



Hon. A R Ainslie (ANC), Prof I J Mohamed (ANC), Hon. B J Mnyandu (ANC), Hon. M J Bhengu (IFP), Hon. V C Gore (ID) and Hon. N T Godi (PAC)


Supporting Staff:

Ms Z Jansen (Committee Secretary).



Sasol’s technologies in the field of Gas-to-Liquid production were recently in the international limelight with the opening of the Oryx GTL project in Qatar. Sasol in consultation with the Portfolio Committee had decided to create the opportunity for Members of the PC to familiarize themselves with the technologies that Sasol had developed over the years.


Purpose / objective for the study tour:

The objective of the study tour was for Members of the Portfolio Committee of Science and Technology to familiarize themselves with the technologies that Sasol has developed over the years in particular Sasol’s Research and Development Activities and its Manufacturing Plants. It was also an opportunity for Members of the PC to interact with Sasol on issues pertaining to the PC oversight function such as issues related to scarce skills and skills development.


10 – 11 August 2006 (Sasolburg and Secunda)

Sasol delegation briefed the PC on the following:


·                     Sasol’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) objectives in Liquid Fuels Business is to increase and create new business and meaningful participation of broad-based groups such as communities, rural woman and youth groups.


·                     South Africa has a Bi-lateral trade agreement with Mozambique. Sasol therefore embarked on this project because of the bi-lateral agreement. Mozambique also has sufficient gas reserves. In this way targeted Sasol’s internal and external markets, BEE ventures and Mozambican markets.


·                     It is the leading beneficiator of coal to synfuels and petrochemicals.


·                     It was pointed out that for Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative South Africa (ASGISA) to succeed the energy sector has to meet the following challenges:-

1.       Close the gap between investment required and domestic capital available.

2.       Close the gap between South African fuel demand and supply.

3.       Close the gap between demand for diesel and ability for crude oil refineries to supply.

4.       Close the supply gap of transportation energy needs to inland area.


·                     In order to close the energy gap Sasol would have to expand their coastal crude oil refineries, import refined products, invest in a new coastal refinery and invest in South Africa’s competitive advantage in Coal-to-Liquids technology.


·                     In its global activities, it has identified 2 sites in Western China. Presently signed up with Chinese partners for a study to evaluate the feasibility of the projects.


The following formed part of the discussion:


·                     PC: Has Sasol made any progress in the Hydrogen Economy?

Sasol: Produces the cheapest hydrogen in the world however, there is a problem transporting it and in generating it, it gives off Carbon Dioxide which is dangerous.


·                     PC: How much electricity do they use?

Sasol: Use electricity equivalent to that of two cities the size of Durban.


·                     PC: How long would the gas reserves in Mozambique last?

Sasol: Gas reserves should last for 40 years; however they are doing further exploration. Pointed out that the issue is not how long the coal would last but whether it will be within economic developments.


·                     PC: What will happen to the equipment when the gas reserves have depleted?

Sasol: In terms of the agreement, Mozambique will retain ownership of the equipment.


·                     PC: Do they have a problem with staff retention?

Sasol: Experience a problem with scarcity of skills and retaining their staff. To overcome this challenge, the Group Executive decided that they will be doubling their budget allocated for bursaries.


·                     PC: What percentage of managers, students and staff are women?

Sasol: 12% of managers are women, 32% of their staff and students are women.


·                     PC: Do they have a disaster management plan for their site as well as the communities surrounding the site. Do they take into account employees mental state after accidents occurred on the site?

Sasol: Safety has become a way of life for all staff at Sasol. All staff receive rescue training and before each shift starts there is safety training. Sasol has emergency pre-planning for high-risk areas which is linked to government’s disaster plan.


·                     PC: Whom does the Safety Committee comprise of?

Sasol: The Safety Committee comprises of two union representatives and six managers, however when they vote on any issue. Employees and mangers are equal. They also have a style of management where everyone’s input is taken into account.


·                     PC: As petrol prices are soaring is Sasol looking at manufacturing vehicles that use gas.

Sasol: Prototype vehicles using gas have been manufactured. Sasol is exploring the possibility of using hydrogen, however there is the problem of carbon dioxide explained previously.




·                     PC: Recommended that Sasol send some of their students to other countries to obtain relevant skills.

Sasol: Their Chief Executive Officer worked with the Deputy President of South Africa on Joint Initiative on Priority of Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) and that Sasol is serious about the country’s national priorities and transforming skills in South Africa.


·                     PC: Recommended that a national workshop on skills development be held and all the necessary stakeholders such as Agriculture (re: veterinary sciences), Minerals and Energy (re: technicians and artisans for the chemical industry), Labor (re: Seta’s) Education (re: skills training) and Science and Technology (re: technical skills development) be invited. The workshop should focus on the challenges South Africa faces on the issue of scarce skills and skills development in a holistic manner.





The Committee wishes to thank all the people that it met and interacted with during the study tour. The hospitality accorded to the Delegation made the task of the Committee much easier and affordable.



 Report to be considered





Hon. E N N Ngcobo, MP