South Africa’s deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa is visiting Iran to explore opportunities for co-operation in the energy sector with a view to attracting investment in a refinery Pretoria is planning to build, according to a Press TV report.

South Africa is considering building an oil refinery that will process Iranian crude to bolster its petrol supply and reduce its dependence on foreign companies.

Pretoria has said it will resume oil imports from Tehran “tomorrow” if sanctions are lifted, but without its own refinery, it would have to rely on foreign oil companies who own refineries in Africa’s most developed economy.

Officials in Tehran said in September that an initial agreement has been signed between the two countries for crude oil sales, pending the lifting of sanctions on Tehran and the resumption of exports, Trend News Agency published.

They also emphasized that South Africa is ahead of other countries in the race to resume oil imports from Iran.