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TVM / Minister Klemens visiting the Maputo port fuel terminal, in Matola, last Friday.
Mozambique’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Leticia Klemens, promised that the government will take a tough line in implementing security measures against the theft of liquid fuels.
Speaking during a visit on Friday to the Maputo port fuel terminal, in Matola, Klemens said that although government measures had reduced the scale of fuel thefts, a great deal of work still needed to be done.
“We’ve come to check and see how the thefts are carried out, why these thefts occur and who is complicit in them”, she said.
Complicity was quite obvious when, in front of the TV cameras, Klemens pointed to the damaged, virtually useless nature of the wire fencing round the terminal. Officials were unable to answer questions about how the fence had come to be in such a condition that it constitutes an open invitation to thieves.
She announced that, in order to boost security, a public tender had been launched to contract a company to install appropriate fencing round the terminal. An inspection team would visit the terminal soon to make detailed preparatory work on this.
“The security guards have said there are no thefts at all – but we know that there are indeed thefts”, declared Klemens.
Fuel has been pilfered from the terminal regularly, and this scandal hit the headlines in December 2015 when a small flotilla of fishing boats attacked the port from the sea, in order to raid the fuel pipeline running past the terminal. The theft went disastrously wrong, setting off a fire in which 17 people died, and most of their boats were destroyed. The cost of the damage done to the terminal was estimated at 2.4 million US dollars.
Members of the police and private security staff were involved in the theft. At the time, the then government spokesperson, Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide, said “The most elementary security norms were not observed, and that was deliberate”.
Klemens also visited two sandpits in the Umbeluzi valley west of Maputo city, where sand is removed for constriction purposes – but with no care for the environment.
Klemens found that this unsustainable removal of sand was leading to serious erosion, and that some households in the area had lost their fields, but the sandpit owners had given them no compensation.
“This situation greatly worries us”, an elder from the region of Beleluane told Klemens. “In all our meetings here we have discussed this problem, but we have no way out and we ask the authorities to help us, because the sand is being exploited continually”.
Klemens was highly critical of the inspectors from her own ministry (some of whom were on her delegation), and she urged them to correct the situation as quickly as possible.
The operators of the two sandpits promised to take corrective measures, but refused to speak to the journalists accompanying Klemens.Source: AIM
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