Mineral Resources and Energy minister Gwede Mantashe has blocked the sale and dispensing of petrol and diesel into containers.
Mantashe said that the decision was made in the interests of public safety associated with the ongoing unrest, and that the regulation takes place with immediate effect.
The minister added that he has been in consultation with the Mining Council of South Africa (MCSA) and the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) this week to ensure that the country has a sufficient fuel supply.
“The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy assures the nation that while there are challenges with regards the movement of petroleum products to some parts of the country, there is sufficient product and government is working to secure the movement of all petroleum product.
“Thus, South Africans are discouraged from panic buying and hoarding, as this action will exacerbate the current challenges.”
The South African Petroleum Industry Association said that the disruptions in KwaZulu-Natal have led to the temporary closure of the SAPREF refinery in Durban and that this will have a ripple effect across the national supply chain for petroleum products.
However, the association has committed to closely monitor the status of the fuel supply chain and advise the department of mitigation steps taken on the impact to the nation.
The South African Petroleum Refineries (Sapref) has declared force majeure and announced a temporary closure due to the ongoing violence and looting in South Africa.
Situated in Kwazulu-Natal, Sapref is the largest crude oil refinery in the country with 35% of South Africa’s refining capacity. It is a joint venture between Shell Refining SA and BP Southern Africa.
In a letter issued on Tuesday evening (13 July), Sapref said that it has been obliged to make the difficult decision 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,” it said.
“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.”