Most garages have fuel, but panic buying causing shortages

2011-07-19 00:00

THE petrol shortage around the country is yet to hit home in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas, with most fuel stations having enough fuel to last until tomorrow.

Reports suggest the petrol strike, which started last Monday, is set to continue.

Solidarity union members joined the strike yesterday and this will affect mainly BP and PetroSA petroleum companies.

Fuel tanks at many petrol stations around the country are reportedly empty as fewer deliveries are made and many consumers fill up their cars in panic-buying spree.

Yesterday The Witness spoke to 11 managers of fuelling stations around the city. Most said they had received fuel at the weekend and had enough supplies to last until tomorrow. Only two garages said they had run out.

Wayne Smith of the Hilton Quarry Service Centre said yesterday they had enough petrol to last until tomorrow. They briefly ran dry on Saturday, but a tanker delivered 40 000 litres on Sunday morning.

“I believe that even when the strike is over these guys will still face a huge backlog of orders,” he said.

Greg Cornell of Howick Falls petrol station said they also still had enough petrol. He said panic buying is causing the shortages. In one day, they sold more than 25 000 litres due to panic buying, most of it diesel.

“What is noticeable is that even the emergency vehicles like the police and the ambulances are panic- buying because they know that if they are without petrol they will not be able to perform any of their services.”

Cornell urged motorists and garage operators to communicate where petrol is available to avoid exacerbating the situation.

Ambros Sokhela, a manager at Edendale Garage, said they were completely out of petrol. “We do not even know when we will receive another delivery because of the strike.”

A filling station in Northdale that declined to be identified had also run out of petrol.

“We brought a tanker on Friday and by Saturday the petrol had run out, many people are definitely panic buying,” said the manager.

However, taxi driver Boy Zondi of the uMgungundlovu Regional One Taxi Council, said it is now easier to find fuel, as he previously had to drive around in search of it.

The South African Petroleum Industry Association advised people to conserve fuel during the strike.

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