SASOL CONSUMER BOYCOTT PUNISHES THE WRONG ENTITY
At the outset I wish to confirm that I have no personal interest in any of the entities dealt with herein.
Sasol is one of South Africa’s best-known brands. Apart from its role as a refiner of fuel, it also fulfils a wholesale and retail function by means of the Sasol filling stations which is often the motorist’s image of Sasol as a brand.
As a wholesaler, Sasol also supplies the bulk of fuel to oil companies of all brands in Gauteng and the Northern provinces.
In June 2018 Sasol announced the Sasol Khanyisa Share Scheme as part of an employee empowerment enhancement scheme. This scheme, unfortunately, excluded the participation of white employees and only benefitted ‘previously disadvantaged employees’.
During the course of August 2018, calls started to appear on social media for white motorists to boycott Sasol filling stations for what was perceived as discrimination against the white employees of Sasol. This was in effect a call for a consumer boycott against Sasol.
It is not for me to guess what the impact of the consumer boycott on the mother body, Sasol, is. Since Sasol supplies the bulk of fuel to all oil companies in certain areas, my suspicion is that the boycott has had very little, if any, effect on the mother body, Sasol.
However, what I do know is the impact of this boycott on some filling stations – a 20% drop in turnover on average – in some cases as much as 40%.
There is nothing wrong with letting your money do the ‘talking’, to spend your money where it is appreciated and deserved. It is also appropriate to redirect your spending when you, for whatever reason, feel uncomfortable to continue supporting either a business or a cause whose conduct contradicts your interests or values.
In this case, however, the motive of the boycott is misdirected; it is based on a false assumption that Sasol is punished if you boycott the Sasol filling station. This is not the case.
While the ‘culprit’ is left unscathed, punishing Sasol filling stations, who had nothing to do with the Sasol Khanyisa Share Scheme, is counterproductive to say the very least.
In view of the above, I hereby call on motorists, who stopped supporting Sasol filling stations as a result of wrong information, to continue supporting them once more.
Privileged and challenged to be South African.
We are all in this together.