South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng provinces have experienced protests and unrest, devastating several businesses.

Led by Minister Gwede Mantashe, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy is engaging with all energy and mining sector role players to monitor the safety and security of these sectors.

Speaking to the Board members and executives of the Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA) and the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) this week, Minister Mantashe emphasised the need for the role players and stakeholders to continue to strengthen the working bonds that have ensured the resilience of the sectors to date – even while fighting the current Coronavirus pandemic.

Emphasising the importance of the energy and mining sectors as the drivers of the country’s economy, Minister Mantashe encouraged the sectors to share their experiences of the current unrest, and their risk mitigation strategies and plans. The MCSA and SAPIA delegations expressed their appreciation at the Ministers willingness to openly engage on these issues of primary national concern and, shared their status at industry and business level. The MCSA expressed confidence that despite the ongoing protest challenges they can fulfil their contractual obligations.

Temporary closure

Led by SAPIA, the Petroleum sector noted that the disruptions in KwaZulu-Natal have led to the temporary closure of the SAPREF refinery in Durban, and that this will have a ripple effect across the national supply chain for petroleum products. SAPIA committed to closely monitor the status of the fuel supply chain and advise the department of mitigation steps taken on the impact to the nation. The DMRE assures the nation that 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. Thus,

South Africans are discouraged from panic buying and hoarding, as this action will exacerbate the current challenges. 

In the interests of public safety associated with the ongoing unrest, the department recently issued “Regulations Prohibiting the Sale and Dispensing of Petrol and Diesel into Containers.” The Regulation is issued in terms of section 2(1) (a) read with section 12C(1)(a)(v)(aa) of the Petroleum Products Act of 1977 and serves to prohibit retail sales of petroleum products to members of the public in portable containers.

For the purposes of these Regulations, a ‘Container‘ refers to an object that is not approved for the holding or transporting of petrol and diesel according to the relevant South African National Standards (SANS). An amendment that contains the revised definition will be issued and gazetted soon.

Mitigating the spread of Covid-19

Noting that the 3rd wave of the coronavirus continues unabated, the parties to the engagements reinforced the need for all concerned to work towards the mitigation and prevention of the spread and increased cases of Covid-19, while continuing with the escalation and monitoring of health and safety matters across the sectors. These actions must be implemented in the interests of the health and safety of all employees and, the surrounding communities where possible.

The DMRE encourages the mining and energy sectors to remain steadfast in working towards maintaining the safety and security of their operations and personnel. The department will continue to engage with the executives as well as the various Labour unions of the sector.

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