Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
2 minute read
15 Jul 2021
12:30 pm

Buying petrol in containers banned, as shortages feared

Nica Richards

A toxic mix of a weakening rand and increased international oil prices paints a bleak picture for consumers.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) on Thursday issued a statement preventing anyone from purchasing and/or dispensing petrol or diesel into a container. Photo for illustration: iStock

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) on Thursday issued a statement preventing anyone from purchasing and/or dispensing petrol or diesel in a container. 

Petrol stations, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, are on high alert, after widespread violent looting sprees that have captured the two economic hubs. 

There are concerns that looters could soon plunder fuel resources, rendering transportation impossible, and further exacerbating current unrest. 

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Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe confirmed that the regulations would come into effect as soon as the government gazette was published, which took place on Wednesday.

All retailers dealing with petrol and diesel sales have been urged to comply. 

August fuel price hike

While battling food shortages and long queues for petrol, the tight budgets of South Africans will be squeezed even more by the projected August fuel prices.

Here are the expected fuel price increases for August:

  • Petrol: 87 cents a litre
  • Diesel: 58 cents a litre
  • Illuminating paraffin: 56 cents 

Rand weakening by the day

Although influenced by many factors, many of which are out of South Africa’s control, looting and violence has taken its toll on the rand’s exchange rate.

The Automobile Association (AA) said the weakening of the rand due to the riots would play “a major role” in fuel prices for the rest of the month, due to the exchange rate being a key indicator for local fuel prices. 

The AA said the daily rand/US dollar exchange rate had already spiked from R14.35 to nearly R14.80 since Monday. 

“South Africa imports a lot of fuel, which will inevitably cost more in rand terms. Meanwhile, international oil prices remain on the advance, adding further pressure,” the AA explained.

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Refineries suspend fuel deliveries in KZN

To complicate matters further, the South African Petroleum Refineries (Sapref) on Tuesday confirmed that due to the civil unrest and disruption of supply routes in and out of KZN, deliveries to refineries had been suspended. 

This, Sapref said, was out of safety concerns for staff, and potential damage to their vehicles. 

“As a result of the aforegoing, Sapref hereby declares the occurrence of an event of force major, excusing Sapref from performing under the agreement”.