Fuel truck petrol-bombed

The truck was was carrying fuel estimated to be worth about R600,000

A truck carrying 40,000 litres of fuel exploded yesterday when it was petrol-bombed on the N6 between East London and Stutterheim.

The driver of the targeted fuel delivery truck survived the incident and was treated for burn wounds.

Eastern Cape police said they were investigating a case of arson and malicious damage to property.

The incident occurred as a nationwide truck drivers’ strike entered its fourth day yesterday, the Dispatch reports.

Disaster management spokesman John Fobian, Forbian, who was at the scene, said the road, grass and land at the scene of the explosion had been damaged, and that the heat had causedthere were potholes from the heat of the fire.

“Amahlathi Municipality and Buffalo City Metro are working together to solve the problem,” he said.

Provincial roads spokesman Tshepo Machaea said a stretch of about 20km of the N6 near Amebele remained closed and traffic going both ways was being diverted to the R346 in King William’s Town. Given the extent of the damage to the road from the explosion and subsequent fuel spillage of fuel it was difficult to say whether the road would be open today, he added.

“It was by the grace of God that the incident happened where there is no civilisation,” Machaea said.

On Wednesday three delivery trucks and vans were stoned and vandalised and the drivers assaulted in the East London CBD by more than 50 striking drivers.

The nationwide truck drivers’ strike entered its fourth day yesterday.

The fuel truck had belonged to Kempston Group. Divisional group director in East London George Murdoch said the driver of the truck reportedly saw a flashing stationary vehicle with six men next to it, so he slowed down assuming there was an accident.

But as soon as he slowed the men start ed throwing petrol bombs at the truck. The driver was alone at the time.

“Our driver said when he realised it was strikers, he accelerated but the men chased him with more petrol bombs.

“He got out of the truck and tried to stop the fire but it was too powerful, and he had to run for his life,” Murdoch said.

He said the incident took place around 2am. The driver was on his way to deliver fuel to Sterkspruit.

Murdoch said the driver, who cannot be named for fear of victimisation, had burns on his hands.

Murdoch said the truckload was was carrying fuel estimated to be worth about R600,000.

“The strike violence has cost us over millions of rands already. The damaged tank cost about R2.5-million on top of the R600,000 fuel costs,” said Murdoch.

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