Fuel refinery confirms shutdown amid ongoing violence in KZN and Gauteng

13 July 2021 - 20:22 By matthew savides
The Sapref refinery in south Durban has stopped operations amid ongoing violence in KZN. File picture.
The Sapref refinery in south Durban has stopped operations amid ongoing violence in KZN. File picture.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

SA's largest crude-oil refinery, Sapref, has shut down operations amid the ongoing violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

The refinery, in the South Durban Basin, sent out an alert on Tuesday citing force majeure linked to the violence, which started in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday and has since expanded into Gauteng.

At least 45 people have been confirmed dead — 19 in Gauteng and 26 in KZN — in the violence, though authorities were expecting the death toll to climb.

Sapref is the largest crude-oil refinery in Sub-Saharan Africa and produces about 30% of SA's petrol, according to the KZN Top Business website.

Police minister Bheki Cele visited Alexandra on July 13 2021 following sporadic outbreaks of violence that have left at least 19 dead in Gauteng and 26 in KwaZulu-Natal. Cele stated that police were on the trail of at least 12 instigators linked to the recent riots.

Sapref's sustainable development manager, Hlengiwe Hlela, confirmed to TimesLIVE on Tuesday night that the shut down was taken in the interests of safety.

“Due to the ongoing civil unrest and disruption of delivery and supply routes in and out of KwaZulu-Natal, Sapref had to make the decision to temporarily shut down its operations. This decision was taken after careful consideration of risks involved including the safety of our people as well as Sapref’s ability to continue operating safely without confirmed supply of critical material to the refinery.

“Plans to start-up the refinery will be communicated once the situation allows us to,” said Hlela.

TimesLIVE


subscribe