- Diesel is being mixed with paraffin and sold at petrol stations, warned Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe.
- Despite rocketing fuel prices, government won’t consider immediate deregulation – and will move to protect jobs of attendants.
- The only thing that will bring an immediate end to the fuel price crisis, is the end to the Ukraine invasion, he said.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe warned of a growing trend of diesel-paraffin mixtures being sold as diesel at petrol stations.
In a parliamentary debate on Wednesday, he said that this was confirmed by samples collected at service stations, and supported by an increase imports of illuminating paraffin.
“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 government under pressure to review the composition of the fuel price, and to consider deregulation.
Still, Mantashe ruled out an 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-services fuel stations won’t be allowed given the threat to jobs.
He said that 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 are 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.
“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.