While Transnet, in concert with a battalion of hard hitters that includes the SAPS and the Hawks, has made some progress in its war on vandalism and theft of diesel by well-organised syndicates on the diesel supply lines from Durban to Johannesburg, industry is continuing to suffer the consequences.
Agri SA has called on government to launch an urgent inquiry into the continuous shortage of diesel. “One of the key reasons is the continuous vandalism,” said Christo van der Rheede, Agri SA deputy executive director.
“It has resulted in diesel being transported by trucks from our ports which in turn increases the cost.
“Farmers harvesting produce such as maize, citrus and other commodities at this point in time are particularly hard hit due to the increase in cost and the limited availability of diesel in particular provinces,” he said.
“Agri SA has been monitoring the diesel supply disruptions and has been part of a weekly meeting with the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) to receive feedback and to convey the status of the diesel supply constraints experienced by its members in each province.
“The situation on the ground however differs from the picture often painted by those responsible for managing the supply of diesel who say that there is enough available,” said Van der Rheede. Farmers are battling to buy diesel for harvesting purposes. Many other industries too.”
The logistical linkages in the dairy and fresh produce supply chain were particularly vulnerable, he added. “High-value export commodities such as citrus, fruit and macadamias will also be affected.”
Transnet owns, manages and operates an underground network of 3 800 km of high-pressure petroleum and gas pipelines. Since April this year, there have been more than 30 fuel theft incidents on the pipeline during which more than 2 million litres of fuel were stolen.
To report any suspicious activities phone: 0800 203 843 or 031 361 1500 or call the SAPS Crime Stop on 08600 10111.