Arcelormittal South Africa (Amsa), the country’s primary steel producer, has declared a force majeure with its customers following the violent protests and looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last week.
The violence that started when former President Jacob Zuma began serving his 15-month jail sentence morphed into civil unrest that saw the torching of trucks, the looting of shopping centres and the destruction of property.
The company said that last week’s unrest had affected major highways and transport routes with roads being blocked, widespread vandalism and vehicles, especially the trucks of transport companies, being petrol-bombed and stoned.
Amsa said the KwaZulu Natal rail corridor to and from Newcastle has been affected, resulting in flows coming to a halt, and the transporting of material into and out of the company’s plants ad dispatches by road were disrupted. The company also said several customers closed their premises to ensure the safety of people and property.
“Consequently, ArcelorMittal SA’s ability to fulfil its contractual/delivery obligations was affected by factors beyond the reasonable control of the company, which constitutes a force majeure event and, as such, ArcelorMittal South Africa gave notice of force majeure to its customers. However, the company is examining all options to mitigate impact on customers,” the company said.