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Shell to Bid Farewell to South Africa?

Posted by John Donovan: 5 May 2024

In a plot twist worthy of a soap opera finale, Shell, the oil behemoth with a heart as black as its crude, is reportedly packing its bags and bidding a tearful farewell to South Africa. Because when you’ve spent over a century plundering resources and polluting with abandon, what’s one more continent left in your wake?

According to reports that sound more like the stuff of urban legends than corporate reality, Shell is set to divest its whopping 72% stake in Shell Downstream South Africa. Cue the dramatic music as Shell’s BEE partner, Thebe Investments, watches its dreams of oily riches slip through its fingers like so much spilt petrol.

Of course, no corporate breakup worth its salt is complete without a healthy dose of conflict, and Shell doesn’t disappoint. Thebe and Shell are apparently at loggerheads over the value of Thebe’s paltry 28% stake, because when you’re dealing with billions, who’s counting, right?

When approached for comment, Shell and its entourage of PR wizards predictably pulled the old “we don’t comment on speculation” routine faster than you can say “confidentiality clause.” Because when you’ve got a reputation as tarnished as Shell’s, silence truly is golden. Or, you know, oil-slick black.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate Shell’s legacy in South Africa: over 600 forecourts dotting the landscape like scars on the earth, a testament to Shell’s unwavering commitment to turning a profit at any cost. And let’s not forget their exploration rights, kindly granted by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, because nothing says “responsible stewardship” like letting Shell loose with a pickaxe and a tanker.

But fear not, South Africa, for Shell’s departure, is just another chapter in the riveting saga of corporate exploitation. Who knows where their insatiable thirst for profit will take them next? Perhaps to the moon, where they can finally pollute in peace without pesky regulations getting in the way.

So, here’s to you, Shell, for showing us all what it truly means to prioritize profits over people. 

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