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Serious Transnet pipeline vandalism adds to inland diesel supply woes

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Serious vandalism to Transnet’s pipeline between Durban and the interior has contributed to the problems of providing sufficient diesel to consumers. A syndicate is possibly responsible for the damage.

This situation now causes great concern for agriculture, long-distance freight transport and other economic activities.

Corné Louw, an agricultural economist at Grain SA, says it is becoming increasingly difficult for farmers to obtain diesel. The organization met with the South African Fuel Industry Association (Sapia) on Wednesday to try to find a solution to the problem, reports Maroelamedia.

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Sapia said earlier that two Durban refineries were back online and that production had “normalized”.

After the demand for fuel, including diesel, dropped sharply during the initial isolation period, it suddenly rose after the start of level 4 of the isolation regulations – when many industries were allowed to reopen.

Refineries stopped production during the isolation period because storage tanks and storage facilities were full and the sudden increase in demand led to large deficits.

However, one of Transnet’s pipelines had to be closed for repairs after two major incidents of theft. According to Sapia, these incidents have a direct effect on the transport of petroleum products between Durban and Johannesburg.

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“Delays that can lead to fuel shortages are expected,” Sapia said.

Transnet pipeline vandals arrested, truck and tanker, van and diesel recovered

Louw says it is expected to take between seven and 14 days for the situation to normalize.

“Grain SA has asked for priority to be given to the agricultural industry. We are at the peak of harvest time, especially in the North West, the Northwest Free State and the Eastern Free State, where many of the country’s white maize is produced.

“If harvesting time is delayed, it will adversely affect the supply of white maize and maize meal,” said Louw.

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According to Louw, Grain SA is watching the situation closely and producers are being asked not to panic diesel purchases.

“We asked for the areas that really need diesel to take precedence,” he said.

The DA said this past week, despite assurances by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, as well as senior officials in his department, there is still a shortage of diesel.

Mantashe said earlier that the deficit, which he said was due to several refineries closing due to the shutdown period, would have been cleared by the end of May.

“According to bulk fuel suppliers, they have been informed by certain refineries that the problem may continue until at least mid-June,” said Kevin Mileham, the DA’s spokesperson on mineral resources and energy.

“As mines begin to increase their production and the economy becomes more open, increasing pressure will be placed on our already limited diesel supply. Any shortfall in supply is going to negatively affect the ability of businesses to start working again and save their operations. ”

Mileham said in response to a recent parliamentary question, it came to light that the Strategic Fuel Fund, which is responsible for the country’s strategic fuel reserves, has only six out of 45 usable tanks. Only two of these tanks are used to hold strategic reserves.

Proposed policies, which would require fuel wholesalers and refineries to maintain sufficient supply for 14 days, were never implemented or ratified.

“What this means is that South Africa has essentially no reserve that can be easily obtained at short notice.”

Gas station owners have been asked to be patient while using trucks to transport fuel from the coast to the interior. Some gas stations have even now taken the step of rationing diesel to customers in an effort to meet demand.

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