‘Noooo petrol’ as strike begins to bite

South African motorists are starting to struggle to find fuel as effects of the national chemical workers’ strike takes hold.

Fuel Retailers’ Association CEO Reggie Sibiya told the Mail & Guardian on Wednesday that petrol stations were now beginning to feel the effects of the strike.

“We are starting to experience severe shortages countrywide, particularly in Gauteng. The major effects of the strike are certainly being felt and it will only get worse,” Sibiya said.

Engen stations in Gauteng were running out of petrol because oil tankers are unable to leave some depots, the Engen Refinery said on Wednesday.

“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,” said spokesperson Tania Landsberg.


“There are people picketing outside the gates of the depots and the most important aspect for us is ensuring the safety of our workers.”

The depots affected were Langlaagte, Alrode, and Waltloo.

Landsberg said although contingency plans were in place, there would be challenges.

“We are planning around that to keep our sites wet, but some are already going dry.”

Landsberg said she had received updates about fuel shortages in the coastal areas.

Sasol spokesperson Nothemba Noruwana said contingency plans were in place, and that major complexes in Secunda and Sasolburg were operating with minimal disruptions.

“Operations at Sasol service stations have not been affected by the strike,” she said.

BP spokesperson Glenda Zeenyika said fuel deliveries were increased before the strike to ensure all its petrol stations were topped up.

About 70 000 fuel workers from the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood, and Allied Workers’ Union and the General Industries’ Workers Union of South Africa downed tools on Monday, demanding a minimum salary of R6 000 a month and a 40-hour work week.

“Negotiators must come to the table already, our businesses are bleeding,” Sibiya said.

‘Where can I go?’
South African motorists have begun venting their frustrations on Twitter.

The social network was abuzz with comments from frustrated motorists who were visiting service stations without fuel.

“Where can I go — There is noooo petrol!,” wrote Nyasha Chigwadere in Johannesburg, while Wayne Renkim in Nelspruit questioned the perils of getting fuel.

“Hoe moelik is dit om petrol te vind? [How difficult is it to find petrol?],” Renkin asked.

Vernon Harvey in Cape Town was seemingly prevented from going to work as a result of the shortage.

“No petrol anywhere — is it a good enough excuse not to go to work,” Harvey asked.

The Fuel Retailers’ Association Sibiya called on motorists to remain calm.

“It’s unavoidable but the public can help by not panic buying — if they do, stocks will be depleted sooner and lead to further problems,” Sibiya said.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Nickolaus Bauer
Nickolaus Bauer is the Mail & Guardian's jack of all trades news reporter that chases down stories ranging from politics and sports to big business and social justice. Armed with an iPad, SLR camera, camcorder and dictaphone, he aims to fight ignorance and pessimism through written words, photographs and videos. He believes South Africa could be the greatest country in the world if only her citizens would give her a chance to flourish instead of dwell on the negativity. When he's not begging his sub-editors for an extra twenty minutes after deadline, he's also known to dabble in the occasional poignant column that will leave you mulling around in the depths of your psyche. The quintessential workaholic, you can also catch him doing sports on the weekday breakfast show on SAfm and presenting the SAfm Sports Special over the weekend.
Sapa Afp
Guest Author

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

ANC’s rotten apples on the chopping block

Now that the NEC has finalised its step-aside guidelines for those facing corruption charges, a swathe of officials will struggle to cling to their positions

Sisulu and Dlodlo punted to be on their way out

Because President Cyril Ramaphosa won the step-aside order in the ANC’s national executive committee, a cabinet reshuffle looms, with Sisulu and Dlodlo’s names on comrades’ lips

More top stories

More ethnically diverse bone marrow donors needed to save lives

The myth that regenerative stem cells are body parts has led to donor reluctance

Khaya Sithole: The real weapons of mass destruction

Ratings agencies and derivatives caused the housing bubble, but where does the next financial crisis lurk?

Analysts expecting another attack ‘in the next few months’ in...

The extremist insurgency in Mozambique has been an ongoing threat since 2017. SADC needs to act now, say analysts

SIU probes how master of the high court fleeces the...

While the SIU delves into dozens of allegations of fraud, corruption and misconduct against officials at the master of the high court, many families have been left destitute after the death of their loved ones.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…