KZN economic development MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)
KZN economic development MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

KZN MEC assigns CEO to investigate Engen refinery closure in Durban

By African News Agency Time of article published Oct 9, 2020

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DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube has assigned a team of officials to meet the management team at the Engen refinery in the Bluff after reports that the plant may close.

A report in The Mercury on Friday said that the plant may be turned into a storage facility for imported products.

“Engen has initiated consultation with employees regarding a multibillion-rand proposal to increase its import and supply capacity in Durban. Engen can also confirm that it is considering several options with regards to the Engen refinery,” the South African petroleum giant said in a statement on Thursday.

Dube-Ncube has assigned the CEO of Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN), Neville Matjie, to discuss the matter with Engen.

The MEC also briefed the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Council on the department’s efforts to redeem the situation.

“Engen remains a key player and a leader of the downstream South African petroleum market. Importantly, as KZN we potentially have access to the abundant resources of the ocean, including fisheries, offshore oil and gas, and maritime tourism,” Dube-Ncube said in a statement on Friday.

Dube-Ncube said that Engen’s recovery will be part of the government’s economic transformation and reconstruction plan.

Furthermore, with the support of the KwaZulu-Natal Executive Council, under the leadership of Premier Sihle Zikalala, TIKZN has embarked on a business “retention and extension” programme that aims to support businesses that “are weak but that have sound foundations”.

“Our ports of Durban and Richards Bay handle over 60% of the country’s seaborne cargo.

“We remain determined to work with companies such as Engen to increase the participation of previously disadvantaged communities in sectors such as oil and gas – maritime industry.

“We have no doubt that when oil rigs start visiting our coastline on a regular basis, this industry will grow exponentially,” said the MEC.

Dube-Ncube also reiterated the department’s determination to enable the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) to become a site for energy infrastructure.

Prior to the Covid-19 national lockdown, the MEC said the oil and gas industry was responsible for some 7,500 jobs and an estimated annual turnover of more than R196bn.

A further 90,000 jobs are also a result of the industry, with employment found in the marketing and distribution side of the business.

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