The quiet, closed-tender sale of 10m barrels of oil – practically the country’s entire strategic fuel reserve – in December, at the bargain price of $28 a barrel, raises a number of questions. Following the sale by the Strategic Fuel Fund, which falls under energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the country has only 300 000 barrels left, insufficient to meet a day’s demand. Why was the tender process closed? Why wasn’t Treasury’s permission asked? Why was the oil sold at the bottom of the oil price cycle? The minister said the oil needed to be “rotated” – why then would we want first dibs on buying back that same “degraded” oil in case of an emergency at prevailing market prices (around $50 a barrel)?