Saturday, October 31, 2020

Dry fuel pumps drive motorists helter-skelter

The Capital Gaborone and some other parts of central and north Botswana came to a standstill this week after many petrol stations went dry of fuel due to delays at the border controls which began over the weekend.

In Gaborone, multitudes of people went on a panic mode driving them out of their houses from Saturday mid-day rushing to any nearest petrol service station to fill up their tanks, following a social media voice note circular that alleged fuel supply shortage.

A few days later after the voice note, the government through the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals resources, Energy and Green Technology, Mmetla Masire went on national television acting on the voice note which had gone viral to acknowledge fuel shortage due to Covid-19 logistical arrangements. However, Masire said the situation was expected to return to normal within a maximum of three days. “We are confident that in two to three days the petrol situation will be back to normal,” Masire told the nation on Saturday afternoon.

He however told the consumers not to worry.

By Monday, which marked the third day, as workers had to return to various workplaces, some quotas of Gaborone service stations which still had the product, received, an influx of consumers eager to fill up their tanks. Some arrived later than usual as they had to spend hours on the long queues to fill up causing traffic jams around town, where the police officers had to intervene to control traffic.

Some got stuck on their way to their places of work, and were left to hitch hike on jerry cans to locate for petrol stations that had supply, but through a hustle. By late Monday the situation had not yet normalized.

Petrol truckers are said to be stuck at the border as they have to test and wait for a period of three days of waiting for Covid-19 results. After receiving the results, they are then taken into a 14-day quarantine.  

Meanwhile the Presidential Task Force team said late Monday that Covid-19 testing team testing at borders not cause of fuel shortage. The team leader – Dr Kereng Masupu said in a press statement that, “As is the norm, the task force team inspected movement at the borders points at the weekend and noted that the delay in facilitating movement of essential service transporters was because of system challenges by clearing agents, not because of Covid-19 testing.”

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