Report of the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology on Study
Tour to Sasolburg and Secunda, 10-11 August 2006:
The Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology, having conducted a study tour to
Sasolburg and Secunda from 10 – 11 August 2006, reports as follows:
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)
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
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 its 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. Sasol has
currently signed up with Chinese partners for a study to evaluate the
feasibility of the projects.
The following formed part of the discussion:
? Committee enquired whether Sasol has made any progress in the Hydrogen
Economy? Sasol responded that it produces the cheapest hydrogen in the
world however, there is a problem transporting it and in generating it as it
gives off Carbon Dioxide which is dangerous.
? Committee wanted to know how much electricity it uses? Sasol answered that
it uses electricity equivalent to that of two cities the size of Durban.
? Committee questioned Sasol on how long would the gas reserves in
Mozambique last? Sasol responded that the gas reserves in Mozambique
should last for 40 years however, they are doing further exploration in this
area. It pointed out that the issue is not how long the coal would last but
whether it will be within economic developments.
? Committee enquired what would happen to the equipment when the gas
reserves have depleted? Sasol responded that in terms of the agreement,
Mozambique will retain ownership of the equipment.
? Committee enquired whether Sasol has a problem with retaining its staff?
Sasol pointed out that it experience a problem with both tha scarcity of skills
and retaining its staff. To overcome this challenge, the Group Executive
decided that they will be doubling their budget allocated for bursaries.
? Committee queried the statistical breakdown of its staff, in particular what the
percentage of its of managers, students and staff are women? Sasol responded
that 12% of managers are women, 32% of their staff and students are women.
? Committee queried whether Sasol has a disaster management plan for their
site as well as the communities surrounding the site? Does it take into account
its employees mental state after accidents occurred on the site? Sasol
emphasized that safety has become a way of life for all staff at Sasol. All its
staff receives rescue training and before each shift starts there is safety
training. It has emergency pre-planning for high-risk areas which is linked to
government’s disaster plan.
? Committee enquired what the composition of the Safety Committee? Sasol
responded that the Safety Committee comprises of two union representatives
and six managers, however when a vote is made on any issue, employees and
mangers vote equally. It also adopts a style of management where everyone’s
input is taken into account.
? Committee pointed out that as petrol prices are soaring is Sasol looking at
manufacturing vehicles that use gas. Sasol responded that it prototype vehicles
using gas have been manufactured. It is exploring the possibility of using
hydrogen, however there is the problem of carbon dioxide explained
? Sasol should have a portion of its students trained in other countries to obtain
relevant skills. Sasol responded that its Chief Executive Officer worked with
the Deputy President of South Africa on Joint Initiative on Priority of Skills
Acquisition (JIPSA) and that it is serious about the country’s national
priorities and transforming skills in South Africa.
? 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.