MUTARE, September 11 (The Source) – Illegal settlers have invaded restricted areas around the Harare-Feruka pipeline, which handles over 95 percent of fuel imports into the country via Beira in Mozambique, subjecting it to potential vandalism, PetroZim general manager Catherine Katsande has said.
Katsande said illegal settlers had invaded the land stretching from Mutare to Marondera, adding that no unauthorised persons are supposed to be settled 25 kilometres on both ends of the pipeline as a security measure.
“We used to have challenges of electricity, which is vital to pump fuel non-stop. We have since sat down with Zesa and addressed that problem. But now we have a more pressing challenge of illegal settlers who have settled themselves along the pipeline all the way to Marondera,” Katsande told The Source on Thursday.
“This area is restricted and no settlement should be made 25 kilometres to the left and right side of the pipeline.”
She said they were waiting for government intervention to evacuate the illegal settlers before the pipeline is vandalised.
“Our mandate is to pump fuel from Mutare to Harare and the advent of illegal settlers poses a threat towards that. The pipeline infrastructure is subjected to vandalism. Some of the settlers light fires, which could cause disasters,” she said.
The affected area stretches 280 kilometres and connects to PetroZim’s Msasa Deport, which has a storage capacity of 58 million litres and is connected to the Mabvuku facility which has a 360 million litres storage capacity.
PetroZim is a joint venture company between the National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) and Lonmin PLC, formerly Lonrho PLC.
The pipeline has capacity to handle six million litres of fuel per day and government is currently expanding it to 16,7 million litres.