Govt probe finds fake diesel at 70 garages - even after Mantashe's warning

22nd January 2024 By: News24Wire

 Govt probe finds fake diesel at 70 garages - even after Mantashe's warning

Mineral Resource and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe

An investigation by the Department of Mineral Resource and Energy has uncovered that 70 petrol stations across the country are selling dodgy diesel to customers, a clear sign profiteers are cutting corners as petroleum prices continue to skyrocket.

The watered-down diesel is allegedly contaminated and mixed with illuminated paraffin.

And according to the department, this practice had tax evasion implications. 

Mineral Resource and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, during a parliamentary sitting back in 2022, revealed dodgy diesel was on the rise at petrol stations even though he did not go into details. 

At the time, Mantashe warned: "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 warning came at a time when wholesale diesel prices had skyrocketed by more than 50% from 2021 to 2022.

News24 can exclusively reveal between April and December 2023, 70 petrol stations were found to be selling fake diesel.

The department probes fuel samples from service stations in all provinces. 

Asked by News24 what its probe revealed, it said, "The department has received 70 failed diesel samples and issued non-compliance notices [to all of them] during the period April 2023 till December 2023. The failed samples show an adulteration of diesel with illuminating paraffin."

Queried whether any criminal cases had been opened, the department said it followed a prescribed process to address non-compliance, "including reporting the non-compliant service stations to SARS because diesel fuel adulteration is a form of tax evasion".

Here are the figures for petrol stations found with fake diesel:

AA spokesperson Layton Beard warned mixing fuels was dangerous and could cause major mechanical problems to vehicles. 

"Vehicles are designed for specific fuels, and changing this will have negative long-term implications," he said.