Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fuel crisis task team to be appointed soon

The minerals and energy department expects to announce the terms of reference of a task team on Monday, to probe the fuel crisis that left some service stations dry. Nhlanhla Gumede, the chief director of hydrocarbons, told Business Report the department would give the task team about two months to complete its work, due to the urgency of the crisis Minerals and Energy Minister Lindiwe Hendricks lashed oil refiners last week for causing the fuel shortages through failure to hold a 25-day stockpile of refined products and insisted the industry refund motorists for the oversight.

Meanwhile, Colin McClelland, the director of the SA Petroleum Industry Association, says things are getting better. But it will take some time before the industry has the reserve stocks that McClelland will be comfortable with. He says they don’t have the levels of stock they’d like to have anywhere yet, but there is enough to keep the system going and they are making special efforts for farmers in the Western Cape and Free State. The industry and the government have set up a logistics task team to co-ordinate fuel supplies across the country.

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