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Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR)
Statement by the Hon Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water ...
Impact of fuel supplies into Botswana due to the on-going strike by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union against TRANSNET.

I regret to have to inform you that the on-going strike by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union against Transnet in South Africa that started on Monday, 10th May 2010, is affecting supplies of petroleum products into Botswana. The industrial action is over a wage dispute.

We have therefore entered a period of fuel supply constraint during which we may experience interruptions of fuel supply at some filling stations from time to time.

Fuel deliveries out of Tarlton Oil Depot just west of Johannesburg, have stopped and this has affected and disrupted supplies into the country. The Tarlton depot which is the main inland supply terminal owned and operated by Transnet and ideal by virtue of its nearness was also designated to hold petroleum stocks destined for Botswana.  The Tarlton depot gives a total combined supply of 650 Million litres per annum of petroleum products to Botswana which is 76% of supply to Botswana.

I have been informed that the strike affects all Transnet Operating Divisions. These include Freight Rail, Rail Engineering, National Ports Authority, Port Terminals and Pipelines.

The strike has resulted in the following:

·         Rail transport is no longer available to bring adequate supplies into the country.  Botswana Railways has indicated that its operations are directly affected in that there has been no movement of goods by rail in and out of the country through Ramatlabama/Mafikeng.

·         The use of Bulk Road Vehicles (BRV’s) is hampered by the limited number of fleet available to deliver the desired quantities from petroleum depots outside the Transnet owned infrastructure.

·         The turnaround time of these BRV’s is low as they now have to travel longer distances to load the fuel sourced by the Oil Companies.

Companies which have been primarily using Tarlton depot to source fuel have made arrangements to source some fuel from depots not operated by Transnet.  The companies continue to explore other sources of supply in a bid to reduce the deficit caused by the closure of Tarlton Depot.

Due to the outlined constraints, total supply available is currently estimated at 1 105 571 litres/day compared to a demand of 2.5 million litres /day. In this regard, the current supply shortfall stands at around 1 394 429 litres/day.  Should the strike continue for a few more days, the impact of the disrupted supplies will manifest itself in some filling stations running out of fuel.  

My Ministry is currently working with the Oil Companies to minimize the impact of the limited petroleum supplies by sourcing the petroleum products from sources other than Tarlton. Fortunately some oil companies do not source petroleum products from Tarlton and my Ministry is forging greater cooperation between Oil Companies in addressing the supply situation.

  The Ministry is exploring the possibility of using alternative routes of supply. Botswana consumes 850 million litres of petroleum products annually, and almost all petroleum products are imported from the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and some small quantities from the Republic of Namibia.

In pursuing the goal of efficiency in fuel use, we need robust initiatives to handle the situation at hand.  Our available fuel supplies must be used wisely, so that we can stretch the current available resources over a longer period.

The public is encouraged to practice the following fuel saving measures:  To drive within the specified road speed limits to reduce fuel consumption, to use public transport if available in your area,   and to share cars if you work and live in the same area.


It is difficult to forecast the duration of the strike.  The public will be informed of developments as they continue to unfold.  My Ministry wishes to urge the public to remain calm since everything possible is being done to ease the supplies situation as fuel is a critical commodity in driving economic activity.

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