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SA violence: Fuel stable, BURS, police on high alert

MBONGENI MGUNI PINI BOTHOKO
Botswana Oil says there have thus been no disruptions to the country's fuel supply, as xenophobic violence continues to rage in South Africa, claiming lives and playing havoc with cross-border trade.

Truck deliveries to and from South Africa have been disrupted by the violence, as the various nationalities operating the vehicles in the region take positions in the xenophobic uproar in South Africa. 

By this morning, seven people were confirmed killed and more than 300 others arrested in a wave of violence mainly around Johannesburg that has enraged the continent, especially through the viral videos of torture and murder of immigrants in South Africa. 

Videos of cross border truck drivers being shot at emerged earlier this week, amidst reports that operators had ground their vehicles both in Botswana and SA to avoid incidents. Botswana imports 90% of its fuel supplies from South Africa. 

This afternoon, Botswana Oil spokesperson, Matida Mmipi told Mmegi there had been minimal disruptions to local fuel supply and contingencies were in place. 

“Some activities in South Africa, depending on severity and duration, could impact the importation of fuel into Botswana,” she said.

“Botswana, however, has strategic fuel reserves, albeit limited, to cushion the country in the event of such occurrences.

“As a strategic organ that ensures the security of supply of fuel in the country. BOL continues to manage these reserves prudently to ensure that the impact of such unrests are not felt in the country immediately.” 

Botswana Oil did not specify how many days of strategic reserve the county had at its disposal. 

Mmipi said Botswana also had the Mozambique and Namibia fuel supply routes, although these were not as developed as the South African lines. 

Meanwhile, the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS)

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says cross border trade is proceeding as usual, without disruption, despite the violence in South Africa. 

“At present, traffic is proceeding as usual, to and from South Africa through our borders,” BURS general manager Communications, Mable Bolele said.

“We are waiting to be advised by government if there's any action to be taken, because we don't take such decisions alone." 

Emmanuel Lephirimile, Immigration Administrator at Tlokweng Border Post, the country’s largest border with South Africa in terms of volume, said there had been no reports of incidents. 

"It is business as usual in terms of travellers and we have not heard of any issues perhaps because the violence is taking place far away in Johannesburg.

"We, however, have noticed a reduction in the volume of trucks passing through the border since the violence began, but the numbers of ordinary travellers has not changed.

"We asked our SA counterparts (at the adjacent Kopfontein Border Post) and they also say they have not recorded any incidents involving travellers," he told Mmegi. 

Law enforcement authorities also said while no reports of Batswana being injured or killed in South Africa had been received, caution was necessary. 

“We call on members of the public to consider holding back on their visits to South Africa until the situation gets better for their own safety,” deputy public relations officer, senior superintendent Near Bagali said. 

He added: “As BPS we are on the look out and as it stands Botswana is safe. There are no possibilities of the riots spilling into the country”.



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