Fuel strike could ruin holidaymakers’ plans

2011-07-14 00:00

THE growing fuel shortage could affect holidaymakers heading back to Gauteng from the KwaZulu-Natal coast.

While fuel is still in full supply along the coast, motorists could arrive with empty tanks to empty fuel pumps.

The South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) said the industry will have a more accurate picture about shortages tomorrow.

In KZN Sapia executive director Avahapfani Tshifularo said there have been no reports of shortages in Pietermaritzburg and only one fuel station in Durban has run dry.

Sapia, which represents the interests of various petroleum companies, said the strike has affected some depots around the country, but mainly in Gauteng.

Tshifularo said production of petroleum is going ahead, butdeliveries to the depots are not and that striking workers are using intimidation tactics to prevent non-striking workers from doing their jobs.

The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood, and Allied Workers’ Union, and the General Industries Workers’ Union of SA are demanding a minimum salary of R6 000 a month, a 40-hour working week and a ban on labour brokers.

Tshifularo said Sapia is “very concerned about services running dry” because it means that petrol is not leaving the refineries.

Engen spokesperson Tania Landsberg said that by noon yesterday she had only heard about one depot in Durban suffering from shortages in KZN.

“Gauteng is the hotspot. Three of the depots can’t release oil tankers because truck drivers are on strike, and there has been a bit of intimidation,” Landsberg said.

She said 16 Engen service stations have run out of fuel in Johannesburg and two in Pretoria.

Landsberg said that although contingency plans are in place across the country, there will be challenges.

Sasol said its petrol stations in Gauteng are the most seriously affected by the countrywide fuel strike, with some having run dry already.

“While production continues a number of service stations are beginning to feel the pressure as deliveries are hampered by intimidation at depots,” Sasol spokesperson Nothembsa Noruwana said.

“Security forces have been called in to provide support.”

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