A 10-year audit of the petroleum and liquid fuels charter, which sets targets for empowerment in the sector, has found that black ownership fell short of the 25 percent aim, reaching just under 19 percent in 2010.

At a briefing yesterday by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters on monitoring of implementation of the charter from 2000 to 2010, it was reported that the domestic petroleum and liquid fuels industry achieved a compliance rating of 48 percent.

Moloto Solutions, which conducted the audit, investigated Chevron, Engen Petroleum, BP Southern Africa, Shell Marketing and Refining South Africa, Sasol Oil South Africa and PetroSA, the state oil and gas company.

Moloto found that the industry had fallen below 2006 levels with regards to petroleum and liquid fuels charter compliance, Creamer Media reported.

Moloto measured the companies against 13 elements in the charter – ownership, management control, supportive culture, capacity building, employment equity, private sector procurement, access to joint facilities, refining capacity, retailing, wholesaling, financing, terms of credit and synfuels supply within the company.

The score was on average 3.5 out of seven, which the minister described as disappointing.

Cope MP and economics cluster spokesman Kenneth Sinclair said the department was dealing with “a very complex matter… I suspect the department is oversimplifying the charter. It is a huge task to transform a complex environment with the involvement of multinational companies. It is also a big business and to get people involved is not so easy.”

Sinclair said that, instead of throwing stones at the industry players, the department should look inwards at itself. “It is not necessarily the industry which is not wanting to transform.”

There were weaknesses with the licensing directorate and also a lack of finance from development finance institutions for black business.

“The development finance institutions are just not involved in this sector as they are supposed to be,” Sinclair

said.