Welcoming SA/Venezuela bilateral agreements statement by the UDM President (3 September 2008)

The UDM welcomes the bilateral agreement between South Africa and Venezuela, especially the energy cooperation aspects of the agreement, which will see us cutting out the middleman and buying oil directly from one of the major oil-producing countries in the world.

We congratulate President Mbeki and his Government for this bilateral agreement. It is no doubt one of the most important economic and geo-political agreements we have entered into in recent years.

I happened to have attended last night's state banquet and listened to President Chavez speaking. It was nice to hear him say that PetroSA is welcome to come to Venezuela to buy oil directly from the producer. He also offered to top up our oil reserves. South Africans will remember that the country used to have oil reserves but that those were sold off under former Minister Maduna, who said when queried that the "world is awash in oil". A few years later and the economy is under serious strain and strategically exposed due to a lack of oil reserves.

We would advise PetroSA as they enter into contracts that they should invest in the people of Venezuela, not just a particular Government, because those are people who will defend this agreement long after particular governments may have come and gone.