The use of altered fuels is dangerous for vehicle consumption, and the Department for Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) should take punitive steps against 70 petrol stations found to be dispensing fake diesel.
This is according to the Fuel Retailers Association (FRA) and the AA after the department said that “regular and random testing” at various filling stations across the country found 70 fuel distribution sites were selling diesel with “compromised quality”.
DMRE spokesperson Ernest Mulibana told the “Cape Times”: “This information collection is what we do regularly and randomly at all stations across the country. The information was collected between April and December last year and showed 70 stations had sold diesel with compromised quality.”
DMRE Minister Gwede Mantashe had previously warned distributors against the illegal practice and said they would face “immediate closure and prosecution”.
Mulibana said the department would respond to further enquiries on Tuesday.
FRA chief executive Reggie Sibiya said they were aware of this practice by unlicensed and licensed wholesalers and objected to it.
“These illegal wholesalers sell this substandard product also directly to motorists, something also classified as illegal as the law only allows retailers to retail to the public. The department needs to curb these illegal wholesalers which are the root cause.
“The regulations are clear about penalties to those wholesalers and this includes terminating their wholesale licences, if they have any, and only the DMRE is empowered by law to do that,” said Sibiya.
AA South Africa’s Layton Beard said the information has raised concern. “Mixing fuels is dangerous to an engine.
“It has the potential to cause loss and damage to an engine and is very concerning for motorists and for the AA if that does happen,” said Beard.
Meanwhile, the DA in the province called on Mantashe to name the four petrol stations in the Western Cape which are allegedly selling altered fuel.
DA Western Cape spokesperson on Mobility, Derrick America, said they were concerned that four petrol stations in the province “are engaged in the illicit practice of selling watered-down diesel mixed with illuminated paraffin”.
“Mantashe must ensure these petrol stations are named so that residents of the Western Cape can be made aware of the stations that are selling fake diesel. Not only are these fake diesel fuels being sold at the exact same price as approved diesel fuels, but could be very harmful to vehicles,” said America.