The missing 368,628 tonnes oil South Africa imported from Iran

There were some raised eyebrows recently when customs figures revealed that South Africa was still importing oil (417,000 during February) from Iran in spite of sanctions against that country.

Sasol took responsibility for some 12,000 barrels per day during January. Engen South Africa, which is owned by Petronas Malaysia, did not.

Reuters reported that Engen South Africa claimed that the company had halted oil imports from Iran. When exactly this happened, is unclear. They did not want to comment. Petronas indicated that their Engen unit stopped imports in March of last year. Engen, while not contradicting the statement, also did not confirm it. The messages are mixed.

I have to say this: the numbers don’t tally up. Either somebody is telling half-truths or somebody (and I suspect it could be more than a single somebody) is not owning up! Let’s calculate:

Of the 417,000 tonnes of oil imported from Iran, how much

South Africa Iran - Oil still important.

Other than Sasol, nobody is owning up for the large amount of oil imported by South Africa from Iran.

did Sasol buy?

Sasol said they imported only 12,000 barrels per day, right? A barrel weighs 139kg, or 0.139 tonnes. February had 29 days and I assume that their ‘per day’ includes weekends, high days and holidays. So the sum would be:

Number of barrels x tonnes x days = total monthly import.

12,000 x 0.139 x 29 = 48,372 tonnes.

So WHO imported the remaining 368,628 tonnes?

That is a whole lot of oil, and it sure as heck got delivered somewhere!

  • Petronas said it was not them. Engen does not say anything. I am not sure I believe them. My suspicion is that they are looking at stopping imports, but haven’t made a final decision .
  • Sasol could be importing more than they claim but, even if they did, it would not be anywhere near the missing 368,628 tonnes!
  • Chevron I believe is innocent. They are US-owned and won’t violate US sanctions. The repercussions would be too severe.
  • There seems to be confirmation that BP is not the culprit either.
  • Shell..well now, Shell is a bit of a dark horse. They have not breathed a word. In fact, they refuse to comment. No answer is an answer too.

A lack of political will

I believe there is a lack of political will to support the US and EU sanctions against Iran. South Africa is notoriously bad at taking a stand. They usually end up dancing around issues. Think of Zimbabwe, Lybia etc. There really is no political pressure from our government on Engen, Shell, Sasol and whoeverelse. Things might change during May this year when Energy Minister Dipuo Peters is set to finally respond to the US in terms of implementing sanctions against Iran. There is a good chance she won’t. As I explained in my previous blog , South Africa and Iran are bedfellows in at least two joint ventures and have been supplying arms to Teheran in spite of the embargo on weapons – an embargo South Africa had agreed to.

In the mean time, this blogger is waiting for the March customs figures to be released. Hopefully the amount of oil imported by South Africa from Iran, will be a round zero.

Also read:

http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=168894

UPDATE 1-Petronas S.Africa unit Engen ends Iran crude imports | Reuters.

Iran and South Africa – Guns, Oil and Embargoes

South Africa supplies weapons to Iran in spite of UN sanctions

In spite of UN Sanctions, South Africa supplies arms to Iran. South African Deputy President's partner involved.

It was repulsive enough to find out that (yet again) South Africa is acting as a corridor for weapons to a country who really should not have any. Back then it was Zimbabwe. Now it is Iran. And goodness knows what went on in between Then and Now.

I truly hope that this was a once-off, but in my heart I know it is not. The entire operation is much too slick, and completely unlike the time the Chinese and South African governments conspired to smuggle heavy artillery into Zimbabwe in support of its genocidal Mugabe regime.

Guns and other military equipment shipped from South Africa to Iran

On this occasion US weapons were purchased by a Canadian Company, who exported the equipment to South Africa. Selling military grade weapons with South Africa as the end user on the certificate, is completely legal. It is once the weapons hit South African soil that – suddenly – everything starts resembling a marsh: smelly and murky, with several large alligators lurking below the surface.

Here, front-companies re-register the weapons. It seems that the partner of South African Deputy President  Motlanthe, had some

Iran and South Africa Weapons Trade - These are the victims of war

South Africa supplies weapons to Iran. This child could be the next victim.

involvement in terms of paying bribes. I am still trying to figure out WHO the companies are and to whom bribes were paid. The re-registered weapons are shipped to Iran on Russian Cargo Carriers.

It is not the first time of late that family members / spouses of the highest-of-high Brass in South Africa are caught with a smoking gun in the hand. One has to wonder at the coincidence…

I find it highly disturbing that the coverage of the blatant South African violation of sanctions against Iran is receiving so very little attention from the media and that – for some reason – they are not trying to unearth exactly who all the role players are. Guns kill. I have to wonder how many innocents will be killed by Iran with the guns South Africa supplied to them, before the world sits up and really takes notice.

The South African government’s reaction is that they will investigate. This is lip service. In my opinion, South Africa  earned their stripes as Merchants of Death.

South Africa is still buying oil from Iran

The UN has been exerting pressure on South Africa for a while now to stop importing oil from Iran. Late March 2012, it seemed as though the South African government finally paid heed.

To quote Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim at a news conference:

“To my knowledge, no Iranian oil is flowing into our country. If there is any, it is very little.”

Yeah, right.

Less than an hour ago, Reuters reported that South Africa imported $364 million in oil from Iran during February. Engen and Sasol are the two biggest buyers of crude originating in Iran.

Frankly, I did not expect the flow of oil from Iran to South Africa to miraculously disappear. These two countries are bedfellows in several joint ventures, such as the $900 million Polymer JV (Arya Sasol Polymer Company) with Pars Petrochemicals.

UN! Impose an Arms Embargo on South Africa

The government of South Africa cannot be trusted. They don’t respect their own signature on UN resolutions they voted in favour of. They don’t respect the rule of law (i.e. Pres. Zuma never stood trial for arms deal corruption charges). They don’t respect the population to whom they have a duty of care (i.e. look at the shocking state of health care and education in the country). They only respect their own pockets and serve their own greed.

I wish to see an arms embargo placed on South Africa until the trade of weapons with Iran is investigated and the culprits are tried.

If you have any information that could be helpful in my research, please contact me.

Stop 2010 World Cup Animal Sacrifice More than Just Another Petition

Note: For those who have not been following the story, please see: https://thewordwright.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/2010-soccer-world-cup-animal-sacrifice-planned/

A week ago, I felt as though mine would be the only voice screaming to FIFA and the South African 2010 Soccer World Cup Local Organising Committee to disallow the animal sacrifices planned by the so-called traditional leaders here in honour of the event. Minutes within launching the petition (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Stop-2010-World-Cup-Animal-Sacrifice) on the Care2 network though, it became apparent that I was wrong – other voices were joining mine from right across the world.

The chorus grew rapidly and is but a few voices short of the 2,000 signatory milestone.  Judging by the overwhelming public response, 10,000 signatures are within reach! A month and a day remains before the self-imposed deadline for submitting the Stop South Africa from Sacrificing Animals at 2010 Soccer World Cup petition to the FIFA Executive Committee.

Driving towards success in the mean time ….

To improve our chances for success in stopping South Africa from sacrificing animals for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, we have to manage our drive as a carefully orchestrated CAMPAIGN. Unless we do that, we will probably be brushed off and ignored.

We figured that a really good target would be each and every one of the 2010 World Cup Sponsors and Partners – both locally and abroad.

The 2010 World Cup Sponsors are:

  • Budweiser
  • Continental
  • MTN
  • McDonalds
  • Satyam
  • Castrol

The FIFA Partners are:

  • Adidas
  • Coca Cola
  • Sony
  • Hyandai
  • Visa
  • Emirates

The FIFA South Africa Partners are:

  • BP
  • Neoafrica
  • Telkom
  • FNB
  • Prasa

Next week I will be sending an email to the Board of each of these sponsors and partners. In brief the email will contain:

  • a link to the Reuters article which broke the news of the impending sacrifices -http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLN24914120091023, and
  • a link to the Stop 2010 World Cup Animal Sacrifice petition on the Care2 network

We will also be asking them, as sponsors / partners of FIFA and the 2010 Soccer World Cup, whether they agree with the proposed sacrifices of animals to honour the event. Naturally I will remind them that should the sacrifices happen, they will by virtue of their presence at the 2010 World Cup, be viewed as in support of this abhorrent practice.

Their responses will be duly noted both here and on the Care2 Network Site.

Once the petition is submitted …

Do we sit an wait for a response, hoping that someone somewhere in the great rambling FIFA organisation will send us some sort of an acknowledgement or perhaps even go to the trouble of discussing the matter with their South African ‘leg’?

This kind of tack would be downright naive.

The high level plan of action is thus, that over and above submitting the most crucial document in the campaign (namely the petition) to the FIFA Executive Committee, we will be sending copies of this petition to the FIFA CEO, the Chairman of the South African 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee, and the 2010 World Cup Sponsors and Partners.

To ensure that we prevent the ‘out of sight out of mind’ trap, we will be asking supporters of the petition (those that are prepared to remain involved for a while longer) to send a pre-formulated email message to all the above organisations on a daily basis. Email addresses will be supplied.

Right now…

Securing as many signatures as possible is of paramount importance. If you have not done so yet, please sign and ask others to do the same. The petition is located at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Stop-2010-World-Cup-Animal-Sacrifice.

Thank you 🙂

Zimbabwe: The Chinese Arms Saga Continues

The saga of the weapons cargo carried by the Chinese ship An Yue Jiang, continues after the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) announced yesterday that their members will neither unload the ship, nor transport the deadly freight to Zimbabwe. The Union also indicated that they were going to approach the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) for support. Indications are that a further Union may join they fray. The United Transport and Allied Trade Union, told reporters that their members were not happy about the arms shipment and that they will be taking a firm decision in this regard shortly.

In spite of the strong resistance offered by the unions and equally strong criticism from a variety of bodies inside the country, the South African government appears to be doing their level best to get the arms to Zimbabwe. To resolve the logistics, they will be using Armscor (SA government owned) to get the job done.

The SA Government acts as Mugabe’s Forwarding and Clearing Agent
Here are three glaring anomalies:

Anomaly 1
Normally, cargo cleared at a Port of Entry, is fetched and carried by the importer’s own devices and not fetched and carried by the government of the day. At the same time, Maseko sticks to his original story: “South Africa is not at all involved in the arrangement: it’s a matter between the two countries.”

Would you agree with Maseko that carting Mugabe’s weapons equals not at all involved with the arrangement? No reasonable person would…

Anomaly 2
Normally, well before cargo that consists of arms and weaponry is shipped, a conveyance permit will be sought by the exporter. No conveyance permit was requested by China before shipment because said shipment was rushed: it left China on the 15th of March and arrived in Durban on the 10th of April 10. An urgent conveyance permit was issued by Defence Secretary January Masilela (and herein lies the irony) in between sittings of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC). Then Maseko commented that “It would be possible, but very difficult for South Africa to start intervening and saying that we will not allow the shipment through.”

Would you agree with Maseko that he could not stop or at least seriously delay the shipment? Considering the lack of paperwork, BOTH Masilela and Maseko had every opportunity. Any reasonable person would have found a way to cause a delay…

Anomaly 3
The very same NCACC chaired by January Masilela has a policy NOT to export weapons, arms and ammunition into conflict areas or to countries (to quote there policy verbatim) where “systematic violation or suppression of humanitarian rights and fundamental freedoms” exist. Masilela still went ahead and issued the permit AND defended the decision by saying that the violence etc. in Zimbabwe was nothing more than allegations. He might as well have said ‘conjecture’.

Would you agree that Masilela ALSO had the ability, given the NCACC policy and the strife in Zimbabwe, to stop the shipment? Any reasonable person would say ‘Yes…”

Then what is the Low Down
Weapons kill. That is their only purpose in the hands of an army that is already perpetrating violence, intimidation, torture and murder. By allowing the weapons to land on our soil and facilitating its shipment into Zimbabwe, President Mbeki and his henchmen will be complicit to every life taken and for every person harmed by any one of these bullets and grenades on the cargo list.

The pride I feel to be South African in view of the preparedness of the Unions to make a stand and do the right thing, and the pride I feel to be South African as more and more Groups/Bodies/Parties step forward condemning the SA government’s handling of the Zim / China Arms Crisis, are in stark contrast with the feeling of shame I am filled with by our government’s shoddy behaviour: their blatant, wilful denial of the truth; the lies that are being perpetuated in defence Mugabe – who is nothing more than an ego-driven murdering maniac; and that now, when Mr. Mbeki’s leadership and moral fibre are needed most, all we as South African citizens are witnessing is his pathetic grovelling at the feet of his erstwhile comrade and mentor, Robert Mugabe.

It is a shame indeed…

Avaaz Petition: Mugabe, Release the Results!

 I received this Avaaz petition in my Inbox a short while ago. They aim to collect 10,000 signatures to present to Mugabe. Please read, and if you would like to support the cause, click on the avaaz link. Perhaps the Zimbabwean people need to know that they are not alone in this…

Dear friends,

Zimbabwe is on a knife’s edge between democracy and chaos. Results still have not been released from the 29 March elections–and fears are rising that Mugabe will resort to violence and fraud to hold on to power. South African president Thabo Mbeki said today that “it’s time to wait”–but time has run out.

Observers, NGOs, and the opposition have appealed for international support. To respond, we’re launching a new campaign to all Avaaz members throughout Africa. Click below to add your name to a petition calling for the results to be released, verified, and peacefully honored. We will send the petition to Mugabe’s government, and to leaders and media organizations throughout Southern Africa and the world:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/democracy_for_zimbabwe/1.php?cl=72012816

Every day brings new developments, and the more time passes, the greater the danger grows that the will of Zimbabwe’s people will be ignored. The faster we can grow this petition, the more powerfully we can show that the people of Africa and the world are looking to Mugabe to honour the choice of Zimbabweans.

In a crisis like this, a petition is just a small step–but it’s something all of us can do, to raise our voices and call for what’s right. And as history shows, international solidarity can be a powerful thing.

With hope,

Ben, Graziela, Ricken, Galit, Paul, Iain, Pascal, Milena, and Esra’a–the Avaaz.org team

 

 

 

PS: A year ago, in one of the first Avaaz campaigns, we called together for Mugabe and his government to end their brutal attacks on opposition leaders. More than 45,000 people around the world took part. Now, there’s a hope for much more substantial change–a new hope for the 12 million Zimbabweans struggling with hyperinflation, starvation, and HIV/AIDS. Please do sign the petition, and forward this email to friends and family–they can sign at http://www.avaaz.org/en/democracy_for_zimbabwe/1.php?cl=72012816. 

ABOUT AVAAZ

Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means “voice” in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva.

 

Mugabe: Divide and Conquer Zimbabwe

Some people thought that I was crazy when I published my Blog: “Zimbabwe: A New Wave of Land Grabs?” yesterday. Quite frankly, even I was starting to doubt the Associated Press information I received…and wondering whether I was not becoming a sensationalist. Fortunately, it appears that I am still quite sane. The reports on land grabs were confirmed by the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7333918.stm)  just over an hour ago.

 

As I write this, there are goose bumps on my arms and heaviness in my heart.

 

Divide and Conquer

Mugabe’ traditional and unfailing modus operandi is to maintain his dominion by dividing the Zimbabwean population. He achieves this division by inciting hate between different races, ethnic groups, cultures and classes through classical means of disinformation. Disinformation is an easy objective for this dictator. He controls the printed and the broadcast media in the country, and does not hesitate to use these to fulfil his personal agenda.

 

The land grabs and the disinformation about the land grabs are collectively one of the tactics in a carefully constructed overarching strategy to regain his control over the prevailing Zimbabwean situation.

 

Mugabe’s current land grabbing tactic was executed as follows:

Violence: His militia (Green Bombers) was instructed to oust several white farmers in Masvingo, a province in the south of Zimbabwe. The latest count is the seizure of eight farms.  

Misinformation: He then (mis)informed the media via spokesman, Patrick Chinamasa, that Tsvangirai is “unleashing former white farmers on farms occupied by new farmers to reverse the land reform programme”. Mugabe was also personally quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper, as saying that: “Land must remain in our hands. The land is ours; it must not be allowed to slip back into the hands of whites. We cannot afford to retreat in the battle for land.”

 

Conquer by Force

Jabulani Sibanda, leader of the War Veteran’s Association (Green Bombers), which has been instrumental in the seizure of white owned farms since before the 2000 presidential elections, alleged on Friday that several farms have already been ‘confiscated’ from black farmers and restored to their previous white owners.

 

According to Sibanda the new black farmers were told to leave “or else face the wrath of an incoming MDC government’. He also told reporters that: “Those white people trespassing on the small-scale and medium-scale farms should know that it is an invasion of our country. We will defend our sovereignty. We will be compelled to repel that invasion.”

 

 

The Outlook

He may be old and he may be a raving lunatic, but Mugabe is both intelligent and cunning. This is exactly why he is such a dangerous man.

 

I expect pockets of violence to erupt as he orchestrates his latest offensive and executes on his latest strategy. I expect an increase in hate speech, which could see Zimbabweans turning on one another instead on him. I expect ‘Cleaning out the Filth’ operations in MDC strongholds, which will see many people – yet again – tortured, killed and homeless.

 

I expect all this, unless a miracle happens. Perhaps the miracle will come in the shape of a Zimbabwean High Court ruling favouring the MDC. Perhaps it will come in the form of South African intervention.

 

But then, perhaps is will never come at all.

 

Zimbabwe: The Showdown Has Begun

It is not even two hours after I told you that Zimbabwe might be an option for investment from a property perspective, should Tsvangirai manage to oust the despotic, murdering Mugabe regime. Now it appears that this particular prospect may well be a pipe dream.

I suppose that only the naive could believe that the Zimbabwean president would heed the outcome of any election that he could not substantially rig in his favour. From news articles released (read: Mugabe begins Zim crackdown at http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/Zimbabwe/0,,2-11-1662_2299749,00.html), it appears that this time is not an exception:

1) Tsvangirai’s proposed meeting with the current regime generals to reassure them of his honourable intentions under an MDC rule, were cancelled by the generals after being ordered to do so by Mugabe.
2) Mugabe sent his terror-inspiring Special Forces (CIO) and Police to raid the Meikles Hotel in Harare where the MDC had their temporary election offices. According to MDC officials, Tsvangirai is safe.
3) Mugabe declared that a presidential run-off ballot will, if necessary, take place within 90, instead of within the constitutional 21 days. Reliable sources on the ground seem to think that this delay will enable Mugabe to regroup his militia.
4) Foreign and local Journalists were arrested on pseudo-charges of practicing journalism sans licenses.

Where is this going to? For a great many years the rest of the world (and that includes South Africa), has stood by passively, watching how Zimbabwean citizens were being left to starve, and wilfully murdered by somebody who makes even some of the most notorious tyrannical rulers of the past, seem like saints. South Africa, I am afraid, bears the brunt of the guilt. Our president, Thabo Mbeki, has welcomed this political murderer and criminal into our country as a guest on many occasions, instead of censuring his actions as he should have.

The average South African has felt the impact of the influx of Zimbabweans into our country. There are not only a great many of these who come in seeking employment at the expense of the local population, but also a large amount of absconded Zimbabwean militia who come here to rob, rape and murder – something that is felt by everybody, from paupers to princes.

Perhaps, President Mbeki, you will come to your senses now and take the responsibility demanded from the leader of the strongest Southern African country.

Perhaps even, some other world powers will take pity on the people of Zimbabwe and step in to lend the support they so desperately need.

But then, perhaps not.

Like many other South Africans, my heart, my sympathy and my prayers are with you, the Zimbabwean people, right now.