It’s now illegal to buy fuel in a container in SA

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Food and petrol queues in Kloof in Durban on Tuesday morning.
Food and petrol queues in Kloof in Durban on Tuesday morning.
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As South Africa faces looming fuel shortages, government has just announced that it’s now illegal for motorists to buy petrol and diesel in a container.

On Thursday morning, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy announced new regulations that prohibit retail sales of petroleum products to members of the public in portable containers.

In a statement, the department said the temporary closure of the Sapref (Shell and BP South African Petroleum Refineries) refinery in Durban - the largest crude oil refinery in South Africa - will have a ripple effect across the national supply chain for petroleum products.

The refinery processes 24 000 tons of crude per day and produces 2.7 billion litres of petrol per year.

Due to riots affecting Sapref's supply routes, the refinery has been closed.

In parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, motorists are now scrambling to find fuel - with long queues outside petrol stations, and limits imposed on how much each customer can buy. 

“The DMRE 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 department said in a statement. 

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