Coast KZN

21 Oct 2020

KZN MEC assesses oil spill damage caused by pipeline theft

Jehran Naidoo (IOL) Picture: EDTEA. KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) Nomusa Dube-Ncube at the site of the oil spill, where a team of contractors work to repair the damage.

DURBAN – The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) Nomusa Dube-Ncube, on Wednesday visited the Durban Canal Harbour to assess the damage caused by a recent crude oil leak that occurred as a result of pipe theft. Dube-Ncube briefed the provincial executive council (PEC) on Wednesday morning on the containment measures and environmental impacts of the spill.

The pipeline theft, according to the MEC, was the work of “highly skilled” and syndicated individuals. The pipeline belongs to South African port and pipeline company Transnet. The theft resulted in an oil spill in the Bellair area, just west of the Durban CBD. This, in turn, affected the uMbilo River, which flows into Durban Harbour.

“We remain encouraged by the sterling efforts of all role-players who are actively involved in the implementation of containment measures aimed at preventing damage to the environment,” Dube-Ncube said in a statement.

She said that the provincial government would work under the guidance of Transnet regarding cleaning and rehabilitating of the area. The MEC said the damaged pipeline affected the entire country economically as well as the province’s infrastructure.

Transnet operates and maintains a network of around 3 800km of high-pressure petroleum and gas pipelines between Durban and Gauteng. It has recorded more than 80 incidents of fuel theft and attempted theft. It has also recorded instances of pipeline tampering with the intention to steal fuel.

“We remain concerned about increasing cases that involve the damage of Transnet pipelines,” the MEC said. She said that the department was working towards shining a light on a possible crude oil syndicate and black market operating in the province.

“We are calling upon communities to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that those who are responsible for vandalising Transnet pipelines are brought to book.” | African News Agency