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Sasol Chief Executive in high-level talks with DME Minister

10 August 2005

Sasol today announced that its new chief executive Pat Davies had met with the newly-appointed Minister of Minerals & Energy Lindiwe Hendricks. Also present at the high-level talks were Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) deputy minister Lulama Xingwana, director general Adv Sandile Ngoxina and other senior department officials.

“This was my first meeting with Sasol. I was briefed by Mr Pat Davies on Sasol's transformation plans, as well as on a wide range of other pertinent issues,” says Minister Hendricks, adding that she was “particularly pleased” by the recent appointment of Ms Nolitha Fakude as one of only three executive directors at Sasol. Ms Fakude will become a member of Sasol's global board of directors and will head up strategy and human resources for the group, effective from 1 October 2005.
Another key issue discussed with the DME was Sasol's upcoming black economic empowerment (BEE) equity transactions, the biggest of which is the proposed Uhambo joint venture. The minister expressed positive support for Uhambo, a BEE company that will result from Sasol's liquid fuels business merger with Engen. The joint venture is in the last phases of a process conducted by the competition authorities. “Obviously the competition process must take its course. In principle, however, we support this merger,” says Minister Hendricks.
“Negotiations to implement the Sasol empowerment component of Uhambo are approaching finality, and we look forward to putting this important BEE transaction to bed”, Davies adds. He estimates that the BEE component of Uhambo would exceed all other BEE transactions in the oil industry combined. To support sustainable BEE, the Uhambo deal will be vertically integrated along the value chain from crude oil procurement to petrol station, as required by the Liquid Fuels BEE Charter.
The BEE partners that will hold a 25% BEE shareholding in Uhambo comprise Worldwide African Investment Holdings (the Engen/Petronas BEE partner) and Tshwarisano LFB Investment (the Sasol BEE partner). The Tshwarisano consortium will be led by a trio of prominent business people, Dr Penuell Maduna, Reuel Khoza and Hixonia Nyasulu.
A characteristic of the Tshwarisano BEE transaction is that it is very broad based, with prominent positions being occupied by indigent rural women. The continuity of Sasol's BEE initiatives is demonstrated by the fact that many of the former shareholders of Exel, the BEE fuel company initiated by Sasol ten years ago, will be shareholders in the new venture.
Other matters discussed at the meeting included how Sasol and Government could jointly contribute to national priority issues such as skills development, capacity building and downstream economic growth. Besides highlighting its rollout of integrated energy centres in rural areas, Sasol also pledged support for a DME initiative to promote education and career development opportunities for the youth, women, the disabled and other vulnerable groups.
Sasol will support the DME's training initiative at Olifantsfontein in Gauteng. This includes a career guidance centre to encourage the development of mathematics, science and technology through exposure to and knowledge of careers and skills in the fields of minerals and energy.
“As a major employer in the South African mining and energy sector, Sasol recognises the importance of investing in a pipeline of talent that will contribute to South Africa's future. In particular, this is vital for the transformation of the South African economy and for the creation of sustainable businesses,” says Davies.
“We issued a challenge to the oil industry to support our efforts to develop relevant skills and invest in historically disadvantaged groups,” says Minister Hendricks. “I am very pleased to see that Sasol has risen to the challenge. This is an example of the responsiveness to social needs that we expect from an industry champion such as Sasol.”
This latest announcement marks a further step in the strengthening of relations between the Government and Sasol.
“While there have been and undoubtedly will in future be differences of opinion between Government and business, including Sasol, a focus on a greater awareness of the benefits of cooperation will result in a more constructive relationship that will ultimately benefit all parties' stakeholders,” says Minister Hendricks.
Sasol and the DME are set for ongoing, constructive consultation and dialogue. “We are looking to Sasol to deliver on the plans that were discussed,” concludes Minister Hendricks.

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