Last Thursday, President Mokgweetsi Masisi announced interventions in a bid to ease the fuel crisis currently engulfing the country.
The efforts that included petrol rationing, however, suffered a blow following the halt of trucks coming into the country on Saturday.
This has left the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security without a clue as to when the situation would normalise.
As per the new regulations, filling stations shall only sell a maximum of P250 fuel to a vehicle at a time; filling stations shall operate between 6am and 8pm, queuing or leaving vehicles at filling stations waiting for fuel is prohibited beyond operating hours; purchasing of petroleum products using fuel containers will only be allowed on Thursdays from 6am till 6pm limiting petrol to 20 litres per person amongst others. While it would seem the situation would get under control on Friday with queues moving quickly, Saturday was a different story as motorists spent many hours in queues after they were told trucks were at the borders.
Unfortunately, many truckers were not able to cross into the country, as there were issues at the borders on the South African side.
South African drivers demanded closure of borders to Botswana decrying that they were not given humane treatment in Botswana.
Permanent secretary at the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Mmetla Masire said despite
Unfortunately the border closures, which we had no control over in South Africa, led to only a few fuel tankers being able to enter the country. This is a drawback we never foresaw and it makes it difficult to predict when the situation would normalise,” he said.
Masire said there were many other factors to consider for the situation to normalise including the amount that is being brought into the country having dropped due to challenges in South Africa, which include issues at refineries and the recent truckers’ strike. He added Batswana should desist from panic buying as it has also proven to be a big problem that leads to depletion of fuel.Meanwhile, motorists have welcomed the interventions stating that rationing allows everyone have petrol. “The queues move faster and there is never a need to worry about spending long hours and getting no petrol in the end. This has also curbed the illegal trade by the use of jerry cans, which was really frustrating government efforts to have everyone get a fair share,” motorist Kabo Onnetse said.