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Petrol strike chaos: Pump shortages dampen 99c fuel price relief

The Department of Energy on Friday announced that petrol price for August would decline by 99c from Wednesday, meaning motorists will pay R12.35 a litre for unleaded petrol inland and R11.87 on the coast.

However, the relief in the petrol cost has come amid a petrol strike that is already affecting motorists in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.

Intimidation
Intimidation by striking union members at a major petrol hub in Pretoria has brought the depot to a standstill, which has resulted in petrol stations running dry in northern Gauteng on Monday.

That is according to Fani Tshifularo, executive director at the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia), in a telephonic interview with Fin24 on Monday.

Wage talks covering South Africa’s oil refineries and their distribution networks stalled last week as Ceppwawu, the largest of the three unions in the sector, called a strike on Thursday.With its 15 000 members, Ceppwawu is pushing for a one-year agreement for 9%, while the National Petroleum Employers’ Association (NPEA) proposed a 7% increase this year and a consumer price index plus 1% increase next year.

The strike is ongoing and there has been no notice of suspension, Zimisele Majamane, deputy chair of the NPEA which bargains on behalf of the oil companies, told Fin24 on Monday.

Low on fuel
“I have heard of some petrol stations, particularly in parts of north Gauteng, running low,” said Tshifularo. “Some stations are completely without fuel.”

“It is just specific parts of Gauteng that is affected by intimidation by union members at a depot where trucks need to load and deliver petrol.

“This is at the Pretoria depot, which is a major hub for the industry,” he said. “It is a storage facility that all the companies use.

“There is no activity at that depot, as the intimidation is very rife,” he said. “It is a major concern as the reports of intimidation is making it very difficult. We are worried about the safety of employees.”

He said oil companies are trying to put their contingencies in place, but there will be regions that are affected, because when you re-route your supply it becomes complicated.”

He said Sapia calls on all parties to come to some sort of resolution. “They are negotiators,” he said. “They need to find solutions to the problem.”

He said the country did not have a shortage of fuel, but said the problem will be getting trucks to deliver petrol.

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