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Sasol Injects R15 Million into Rural Energy for the Poor.

Business Editors

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 19, 2003

Sasol is investing R15million in a project to help Government set up ten Integrated Energy Centres (IeC's) over the next three years to make energy more accessible and affordable to the rural poor of South Africa.

The envisaged Integrated Energy Centres will be located as centrally as possible to specific communities and surrounding villages and it is intended to exclude as many middle men in the distribution value chain as possible.

Sasol chief executive, Pieter Cox, says: "Instead of wholesalers, distributors, routers and spaza shop involvement, energy products will be delivered directly to the Integrated Energy Centre that will become sole wholesaler and distributor.

"Feasibility studies are currently underway to determine the best suited products which could range from liquid petroleum gas (LPG), paraffin, electricity and solar energy to coal."

The IeC concept stems from President Thabo Mbeki's Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Strategy (ISRDS), which is presently being implemented by the South African Government. It aims to assist the rural poor by coordinating service delivery and providing infrastructure.

The Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) regards energy as the prime catalyst for socio-economic development and has identified IeC's as prime growth drivers for capacity building within poor communities.

The DME decided to focus on educating and training communities on energy conservation issues and to establish energy shops for the actual provision of different forms of energy to communities in partnership with the private sector.

Sasol has already provided more than R400 000 for a training programme for persons who will be involved in the setting up and running of the IeC. More than 50 candidates from all provinces were trained under the guidance of the Department of Minerals and Energy during 2002.

Sasol and the DME have identified Embahlenhle in Mpumalanga and QwaQwa in the Free State as its first two sites. The process of community consultation and the appointment of consultants to undertake feasibility studies is currently underway.

The other eight sites will be determined in line with the nodes identified in the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Strategy Plan and will fall within the areas of: KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape, Northern Province and Mpumalanga.

Sasol's R15 million investment includes the establishment cost for the ten IeC's, including feasibility studies, construction of the energy shops and the initial supply of products and services.

Sasol, established in 1950, is a world-leader in the commercial production of liquid fuels and chemicals from coal and crude oil. The company has sales of more than US $6-billion per year and is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange (SOL) with a market capitalisation of more than US$7-billion and on NASDAQ (SASOY) in New York. Sasol manufactures more than 200 fuel and chemical products at its plants in Sasolburg and Secunda in South Africa as well as at several plants abroad. Its products are exported to more than 90 countries around the world. The company has developed world-leading technology for the commercial production of synthetic fuels and chemicals from low-grade coal as well as the conversion of natural gas to environment-friendly diesel and chemicals. Internet address: www.sasol.com
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Feb 19, 2003
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