Government going after dodgy diesel stations in South Africa

 ·23 Jan 2024

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has its sights set on companies – particularly retailers – that have been selling “adulterated” diesel in attempts to cut costs and evade tax.

This comes after the department found that 70 out of 1000 samples it had taken from service stations across the country showed results of ‘watered-down’ diesel – a mix of diesel and illuminating paraffin.

Deputy Director General of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Tseliso Maqubela said that not only is this practice dangerous, as it seriously damages vehicles, but it is also a major form of tax evasion, with profiteers seeking to avoid the road accident and fuel levies.

There are over 5,000 filling service stations across the country. Maqubela fears that this issue may be much more widespread as the department continues its investigations.

He does, however, doubt that watered-down diesel would be found at big-name “reputable” service stations.

“You don’t find the non-compliance samples from your major dealers that are linked to major oil companies,” said Maqubela. “It is the ones that are run by non-refining wholesalers… unfamiliar brands,” he added.

As of now, the department has informed the South African Revenue Service (SARS) of the non-compliant retailers to begin its process of recouping money that is owed to the state.

Maqubela said that the department has also issued letters of non-compliance to the retailers found with the dodgy diesel, for which they have to argue why they should not be shut down.

While not promoting the “big oil companies”, Maqubela said that the safest option might be to fill up at reputable service stations as motorists are “highly unlikely (to) find a sample that has been adulterated”.

Maqubela said big corporations “wouldn’t risk being on the opposite side of the revenue authorities given the size of their companies.”

No major company has been found with adulterated diesel so far.

Read: Alert issued over new drive-thru and petrol station crime trend in South Africa

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