Diesel is being mixed with paraffin and sold at some fuel stations, a trend which is growing at a worrying pace recently due to the ever-increasing prices of diesel, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has warned.
Mantashe said that this was confirmed by samples collected at service stations, and supported by an increase in imports of illuminating paraffin during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.
“Those who mix diesel with paraffin and sell to unsuspecting customers must stop this practice. It is illegal. Service stations found with adulterated diesel will face immediate closure and prosecution.”
His department is working with the police to investigate a “marker” to ensure greater traceability of paraffin in diesel.
Wholesale diesel prices have climbed by more than 50% over the past year.
Petrol prices have increased by more than 40%, putting the government under pressure to review the composition of the fuel price and to consider deregulation.
Still, Mantashe ruled out immediate deregulation on Wednesday.
“Clamouring for deregulation in the middle of a global economic war is ill-advised.” He added that even if South Africa deregulated fuel, self-service fuel stations won’t be allowed given the threat to jobs.
He said that the government’s move to temporarily cut the general fuel levy has cost the state R10 billion after it was forced to release strategic fuel stocks to fund this support.
“The stock we refer to is the 10 million barrels which we were alleged to have lost through corrupt means,” Mantashe said, in an apparent reference to the Zuma-era sale of 10 million barrels of strategic crude reserves at a price well below market value.
He said that South Africa should address its fuel crisis by exploring for oil and gas, which will reduce its dependency on foreign oil.
“Yet some in the EFF think the solution is to dish out pamphlets and mobilise people to protest increasing petrol prices. If indeed you are anti-imperialist as you claim, you would join and support us in our drive for oil exploration, and when we defend our country against climate imperialists – or so-called green lobby – supported by external government and non-government institutions,” Mantashe said.
But he added that, at the moment, the only real solution to the fuel price shock would be the end of the Ukraine invasion.
“In the present, the only sustainable solution to our energy crisis is the end to the conflict in Central Eastern Europe (no matter who is involved and who is fuelling it),” Mantashe added. – News24