The question of whether South Africa can access strategic fuel stocks sold way below market price in a controversial deal made in late 2015 will be answered by a court of law, Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF) acting chief executive Thabani Zulu said on Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a briefing by the Central Energy Fund, the state-owned parent company of the SFF, to Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy, Zulu said a legal report has been sent to court for confirmation.

“The matter is going through the legal process as per the legal report that has since been developed and consolidated with recommendations so that question will best be answered by the court response on the legal report that was completed by the legal team that was established by the then minister of energy and Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi continued to implement that,” he said.

“On the basis of the legal opinion there are [fuel]stocks but that has to be tested by the court”.

In May, Kubayi confirmed that part of the country’s strategic fuel reserves were sold off on her predecessor’s watch in late 2015 and said it was the subject of an investigation.

Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who was fired in a sweeping Cabinet reshuffle in March, had denied a sale, saying instead that it had been a rotation of stock of the Strategic Fuel Fund.

The sale caused an outcry, partly because the stock was disposed off at the low price of 29 US dollars a barrel. – African News Agency (ANA)