The Automobile Association (AA) has called on motorists not to buy more fuel than necessary in order to preserve current stocks for essential and emergency services.
Zululand Observer reports, South Africans have also been urged to limit all non-essential travel as road transport comes under pressure from unrest and the spectre of fuel shortages.
‘We advise citizens to work remotely where possible, and for business to accommodate the difficulties staff may face if mass transit is affected by fuel shortages,’ said AA spokesperson, Layton Beard.
This follows the South African Petroleum Refiners’ (SAPREF) decision to declare force majeure after its operations were affected by the unrest.
SAPREF runs a massive refinery complex in Durban supplying 35% of South Africa’s refined fuel. Beard said, if an operational refinery were to be overrun by criminals, surrounding areas would be at great risk.
‘Past disasters involving refineries have polluted wide areas and claimed hundreds of lives, so SAPREF’s caution is justified.
‘If the shutdown were to be protracted though, it could impact considerably on fuel supply to many areas, including Gauteng and other northern provinces inland,’ said Beard.
The Association further warned that unaudited mid-month fuel price data from the Central Energy Fund reflected a risk of substantial fuel price hikes at month-end.
‘Data indicates that petrol is set for an increase of 87 cents a litre, diesel 58 cents and illuminating paraffin 56 cents.
‘While the supply of fuel will not push the prices of fuels higher, the weakening Rand – as a result of the riots – will play a major role as the exchange rate is a key indicator for the local fuel price.’