AS PETROL stations in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape ran dry, businesses in Nelson Mandela Bay and surrounding areas have allayed fears of a fuel shortage and empty shelves as truck drivers continued their strike for better wages.
Two trucks were petrol-bombed in the Bay – one on the Addo road near Wells Estate and the other at the intersection of Johnson and Uitenhage roads in Zwide.
Police would not say whether the bombing was linked to the ongoing SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union strike which began last Monday, but were investigating the matter.
Businesses across the Bay have put contingency plans in place to prevent any impact on the consumer as the transport workers' strike – which has had the country on edge amid fears of investor losses – enters its second week.
The automotive industry, the backbone of manufacturing in the Eastern Cape, has minimised the impact on production with contingency planning before the strike.
General Motors SA spokesman Lunga Ntsendwana said the strike had threatened their car assembly line but production levels remained unaffected.
"The transport workers' strike has disrupted our material supply activities in our vehicle assembly facility,” he said.
"We do have a contingency plan in place which is enabling us to continue to build vehicles at our normal production levels.”
Volkswagen SA spokesman Matt Gennrich said they were also operating as usual, although the strike had made things difficult for them.
"We had made contingency plans and will continue monitoring the situation every day. So far, we have been operating normally.”
Transnet has also said it is business as usual at its port terminals due to effective resource planning.
Coega Development Corporation spokesman Ayanda Vilakazi said there had been no complaints from investors based at the industrial development zone. "If the strike goes on longer, it may start impacting on everyone,” he said.
Shoprite spokesman Sarita van Wyk said they would be able to "maintain service to stores on the majority of products for the foreseeable future” as the group managed its own supply chain.
Petrol pumps in Mthatha are running dry, with some stations turning away customers looking for unleaded petrol.
Mthatha Total Fuel centre manager, Etienne Malan said they were among the few with fuel and needed more to cope with the rush to fill up before the petrol increase at midnight. "We are waiting for a truck to come through, but that will depend on the situation at the Kei Bridge, where two trucks were burnt last week.”
There was no indication of fuel shortages in Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Humansdorp or Jeffreys Bay.