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Concerns over fuel shortages in South Africa amid riots.

Article by: Dumisane Dube

The Automobile Association (AA) says that South Africa could face fuel shortages in the next few days to come.

The South African Petroleum Refineries (Sapref) has declared force majeure (ceasing of operations) and closed its doors due to the looting and violence currently taking place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

SAPREF is the largest crude oil refinery in sub-Saharan Africa and makes around one third of South Africa’s petrol.

In a letter issued on Tuesday evening (13 July), Sapref said it has decided to shut down the refinery due to the violence.

“As a result of the (unrest), Sapref hereby declares the occurrence of an event of force majeure, excusing Sapref from performing under the agreement…Due to the civil unrest in the country and disruption of supply routes in and out of Kwazulu-Natal, suppliers of materials critical to Sapref operations communicated the suspension of deliveries to the refinery due to safety concerns for their staff and damages to their vehicles on the roads.”Sapref stated.

Recently there were reports that petrol stations were running out of fuel while others have already run dry.

AA spokesperson Layton Beard says the country might feel the impact of the strike in days to come, as supply is compromised.  

“We are seeing small pockets of people rushing to fuel stations we haven’t had major reports of fuel stations running dry but the fact that the supply is going to be compromised is going to have an impact and it is probably going to lead on some issues in the next coming days,” said Beard.

According to Beard the supply of fuel is not going to affect the fuel price by the knock the Rand has taken against the Dollar.

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