As if COVID has not impacted our economy enough, fuel theft has been on the rise as well and leaves Transnet with a loss valued at R102 million rand over this past year.

About 16 billion litres of fuel gets moved through the Transnet pipeline network every year and about 8.5 million litres, has been lost due to theft over the past year.

Transnet is responsible for transporting fuel from the refineries to the fuel companies. They are also responsible for the management of our main ports and railway freight. The fuel is distributed through the pipeline network spanning 3500 km over five provinces. These pipelines carry about 16 billion litres of fuel each year. Unfortunately, not all the fuel reaches its final destination.

One of the companies biggest threat is the damage and tampering to the pipelines due to theft, especially inland.

These thefts or attempted thefts results in explosions and fires most of the time. In 2019 the attempted robbery in Alberton, Ekurhuleni forced about 40 households to evacuate and was also blamed for the massive crude oil spill in Durban in 2020.

Not only does these robberies pose a danger to the nearby communities, but of course it results in millions of dollars cost to the state owned enterprise

This is a big blow for Transnet due to the company being hit extremely hard by COVID and due to this being downgraded by global ratings.

During the financial year for 2019/2020 11.9 million litres of fuel was stolen, calculated at the Basic Fuel Price, R147 million. This loss was the result of 143 actual robberies and 38 attempted robberies.

In 2020/2021 during our lockdown period, 134 actual robberies were reported leaving the company at a loss of a staggering R102 million.

Transnet has now issued a tender for surveillance drones as well as pistols and semi-automatic rifles to equip their security guards with in an attempt to curb and deal with the theft. They have also put together a team of investigators to gather evidence with the hope of successfully catching the thieves and guards have been given instructions to engage in hostile situations if need be.

Apart from this, Transnet has been promised support from the South African National Defense Force as well. Thus far there has only been one successful conviction, 58 tankers have been seized and 146 suspects have been charged.

It is of course the aim to put a stop to the thefts as far as possible and ensure the safe transportation of the fuel.

Fuel Zone