South Africa may be forced to ration fuel if Ukraine crisis persists, official says

On June 4, 2020, local time, in Pretoria, South Africa, a gas station of Sasol Ltd., a South African company, is seen. Gas pumps sit holstered on the forecourt of a Sasol Ltd. fuel station in Pretoria, South Africa, on Thursday, June 4, 2020. South Africas state-owned Central Energy Fund is considering buying assets that have been put on the block by fuel and chemical maker Sasol Ltd. as it seeks to restore itself to profitability. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers /Bloomberg via Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: Gas pumps sit holstered on the forecourt of a Sasol Ltd. fuel station in Pretoria, South Africa, on Thursday, June 4, 2020. /Getty Images

South Africa may resort to rationing fuel if the military operation in Ukraine continues for much longer, the country’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy told parliament on Tuesday amid fears of a looming fuel crisis due to the operation.

At the moment, Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, which started 20 days ago, is expected to last longer despite talks between the two sides.

The operation has already disrupted global markets as production of vital goods and supply chains have been affected.

Addressing Parliament on Tuesday, South Africa’s Deputy Director-General in the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Tseliso Maqubela, told legislators that the country may run into supply problems if the military operation in Ukraine continues beyond April.

He told the members of parliament that the country could be forced to limit fuel sales to 50 liters per motorist and urge people to work from home where necessary.

“We are seeing evidence of decreased availability of certain products. There are indications of shortages of diesel [globally]. Diesel that had been flowing to Europe from Russia is so longer flowing at the same volumes with some being diverted towards the war effort in Russia… SA will be okay for March and April but if the war goes beyond that we will begin to experience security of supply issues,” local News24 publication quotes Maqubela.

Besides the possible fuel supply disruption, the Russian military operation in Ukraine is also expected to affect basic food supply across the world.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, the United Nations Secretary-General linked the threat of commodity scarcities to possible political instability.

“Food, fuel and fertilizer prices are skyrocketing.  Supply chains are being disrupted.  And the costs and delays of transportation of imported goods – when available – are at record levels,” he said.

“All of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe.”