Diesel shortage disrupts Sol’s refuse collection.
THE COUNTRYWIDE shortage of diesel has resulted in purchases of diesel at garages and depots in Kimberley being limited, affecting both municipal services and farmers.
On Wednesday, the Sol Plaatje Municipality’s Waste Management Unit issued a notice indicating that there will be disruptions in the collection of refuse in many areas due to shortages of diesel.
The municipality promised that the identified areas would be prioritised for collection as soon as diesel was available at the workshop for its trucks to fill up.
According to the notice, further disruptions were foreseen for the rest of the week, which will compel refuse collection to fall to the weekend.
Municipal spokesperson Thoko Riet said the diesel issue was a national crisis.
“We are doing everything possible to see how soon we can get our trucks running so we can serve our communities to the best of our ability,” Riet promised.
Meanwhile, local farmers, who are still trying to recover from the hard lockdown where activities were limited, fear that they could experience further financial losses as a result of the current shortage of fuel.
Kimberley and the country has been experiencing a massive shortage of diesel over the past weeks and limitations have been placed on the number of litres that can be purchased.
Several local garages, as well as the diesel depot, indicated on Wednesday, however, that supply had improved since Tuesday and they were now in a better position to meet the demand.
Agri Northern Cape indicated that farmers were keeping their fingers crossed that supplies would increase soon, pointing out that the diesel shortage had come during the harvesting period.
Farmers can currently only get a quarter of their normal bulk supply due to the diesel shortage.
Agri NC president Nicol Jansen said they hoped the problem would be sorted out soon and that there will be sufficient availability of diesel in the near future.
According to Jansen, the limited availability of diesel was triggered by the lack of activity at refineries during the hard lockdown period.
He said major theft was also experienced in the pipelines that transport fuel between KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
”What we can currently get is not even half of what we need,” he said on Wednesday.
“The damages on the pipelines had an effect on the supply of fuel inland. The reopening of the economy at phase 3 has also resulted in an increased demand for fuel as more people drive to work and more activities within the economy have started to open up,” explained Jansen.
He added that the sharp fuel price effective from midnight on Wednesday also led to an increase in demand as people flocked to petrol stations to fill up their tanks.
He admitted that the increased demand had hindered their operations as farmers were blocked from ordering additional supplies of diesel while the price was cheaper.
“This has already had financial implications for farmers, some of whom have been forced to halt their farming activities as a result.”
Jansen indicated that they anticipated even bigger demands for diesel in the near future, stating that several services, including the police, would need to patrol the pipelines to prevent further theft and damages.