The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) on November 5 said it was concerned about the persistent tampering with State-owned Transnet's pipelines to steal fuel.
It has also called on municipalities and landowners to cooperate with law enforcement agencies to prevent encroachment on servitudes critical infrastructure traverses.
A fire, allegedly caused by people tampering with the pipeline to steal fuel, in Clairwood, Durban, on October 31, led to the deaths of three people, as well as damage to property and the environment.
"Authorities and municipal structures concerned need to prevent the destruction of public and valuable infrastructure, as this results in dire consequences for the country trying to recover from the economic slump exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic," said Nersa regulator member primarily responsible for petroleum pipelines regulation Muzi Mkhize, who visited the area on November 1.
"We commend the eThekwini Disaster Management Department, the South African Police Service and the eThekwini Fire Department for their sterling and speedy response to quell the fire. We also commend the Transnet Pipelines National Operations Centre for immediately activating its emergency response plan," he said.