Mantashe sends a warning to petrol stations in South Africa 

 ·10 Apr 2024

The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, has warned petrol stations in South Africa that more random testing will be carried out following a concerning trend of stations selling contaminated diesel.

Mantashe issued this warning in a recent parliamentary Q&A, in which the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) was asked about its plans to tackle diesel adulteration in the country. 

Diesel adulteration involves mixing a foreign substance (i.e. illuminating paraffin) with the fuel (diesel). 

These questions followed an exclusive exposé by News24, which queried the DMRE about its probe into the shoddy filling stations from April to December 2023.

The DMRE uncovered at least 70 filling stations across the country selling contaminated diesel watered down with illuminating paraffin.

In response to the Q&A, Mantashe noted that diesel adulteration is a trend that is a challenge not only in South Africa but globally. 

“The number of cases is increasing as unscrupulous businesspeople seek to benefit from the tax differential between paraffin and diesel,” he said. 

This is because paraffin is not subjected to the sizeable taxes and levies that apply to fuel, and unlike petrol, diesel prices are not regulated. 

This allows filling stations to set their prices in order to undercut the competition and draw in customers.

Combining these factors presents an attractive opportunity for nefarious station owners to mix the cheaper paraffin with diesel to increase its volume and sell the dirty fuel to unknowing customers for higher profits.

As a result, the DMRE intends to extend fuel testing at more service stations to establish the full extent of the challenges confronting the sector regarding fuel quality. 

Focusing more on diesel samples than other fuels will achieve the foregoing extension to cover more service stations.

The DMRE plans to conduct random and scheduled fuel quality monitoring inspections in the Republic of South Africa’s nine provinces, targeting high-risk areas. 

Following the investigations into the 70 stations found with dirty diesel, these high-risk areas include Limpopo, North West, and Kwa-Zulu Natal – although evidence of diesel adulteration was discovered in all provinces. 

“The random testing will be carried out through collaboration/ partnerships with government entities that share the same mandate to enforce fuel quality compliance,” said Mantashe. 

“The Department is increasing its collaboration with the South African Revenue Services and is exploring cooperation with the National Consumer Commission to further punish offenders and protect consumers,” he added.

Read: Trouble for petrol prices in South Africa in May

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter