South Africa is in a catch-22, facing a choice of whether to invest billions in building a new oil refinery or not being able to meet demand for fuel in the future. Earlier this year, Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi told parliament the cabinet would decide by December about building a refinery through a public-private partnership. In 2010, when a similar proposal was made, the cabinet balked at the R10-billion price tag. Department of Energy spokeswoman Nomvula Khalo said it was the right time to build a refinery, which would take about five years to complete. The refinery would ensure security of fuel supply and could minimise the negative impact on the balance of payments of importing refined fuel. There was a shortage of refining capacity, not only in South Africa but in the Southern African Customs Union and SADC, Khalo said. And increased refining capacity was needed globally to meet growth in demand. "The current oversupply of products will not be there forever," she said, ad...

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