mbeki praised for major oil deal

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

President Thabo Mbeki has been praised for concluding an oil deal with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, in terms of which South Africa will buy oil directly from Venezuela.

The bilateral agreement has been hailed as a major breakthrough since it will have a positive effect on the country's economic situation.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the energy cooperative agreement would go a long way to ensuring that South African got its oil directly from one of the major oil-producing countries in the world.

Many saw the deal as the answer to South Africa's energy needs and as affecting the future petrol price positively.

"We congratulate Mbeki for this bilateral agreement," Holomisa said. "It is no doubt one of the most important economic and geo-political agreements we have entered into in recent years."

Holomisa, who attended Tuesday night's banquet addressed by Mbeki and Chavez, said he was impressed to hear Chavez saying that PetroSA was welcome to come to Venezuela to buy oil directly from the producer.

Chavez told a post-agreement media briefing in Pretoria this week that PetroSA should immediately go to Venezuela to start exploiting the resources in the Orinoco heavy oil belt that has the largest oil reserves in the world.

"So, in the same manner as 100 years ago when Venezuela started sending oil to the United States and all developed countries, it is high time that Venezuela started sending oil to developing countries," he said

"It is a matter of justice."

He said for many years Venezuelan oil tankers had passed by the South African coast to Asia, China and other countries.