Government bans container sales to combat fuel hoarding.

The government has banned the sale and dispensing of petrol and diesel into containers to thwart the hoarding of fuel over fear of fuel shortages. Regulations to prohibit retail sale of petroleum products to the public in portable containers were issued on Thursday by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy “in the interests of public safety associated with the ongoing unrest”.

Businesses and motorists are concerned about fuel shortages following the closure of the SA Petroleum Refineries (Sapref) which on Tuesday said it was unable to operate without the supply of critical materials.

“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,” said the department, in a statement.

“South Africans are discouraged from panic buying and hoarding, as this will worsen the current challenges,” the department said.

Led by minerals and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, the department is interacting with all energy and mining sector role players

The petroleum sector, led by the SA Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia), said the disruptions in KwaZulu-Natal and the closure of Sapref will have a ripple effect across the national supply chain for petroleum products. Sapia committed to monitor closely the status of the fuel supply chain and advise the department of mitigation steps taken.

According to the department, the Minerals Council SA expressed confidence that it was able to fulfil its contractual obligations, despite the protests.  Emphasising the importance of the energy and mining sectors as the drivers of the country’s economy, the department said Mantashe has encouraged the sectors to share their experiences of the current unrest, and their risk mitigation strategies and plans.

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