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HomeNewsGovernment finds 70 filling stations selling dirty diesel in South Africa – Most affected provinces

Government finds 70 filling stations selling dirty diesel in South Africa – Most affected provinces

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has uncovered at least 70 filling stations across the country selling contaminated diesel that is watered down with illuminating paraffin.

This follows a multitude of fuel-testing laboratories in the country noting that they experienced an increase of up to 38% in large fuel consumers voluntarily submitting diesel samples for testing in 2023 compared to 2022.

The most likely motivation behind this unlawful practice is monetary gain, according to the DMRE.

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 own prices in order to undercut the competition and draw in customers.

The combination of 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.

Filling a vehicle with any propellant other than the one it was designed to use can have detrimental effects on the engine and more often than not leads to costly repairs and long-term damages.

No province left untouched

In an exclusive exposé, News24 queried the DMRE about its probe into the shoddy filling stations, which ran from April to December 2023 and involved the testing of fuel samples from service stations in all provinces of the country.

The DMRE confirmed that it received 70 failed diesel samples and subsequently issued non-compliance notices to all of the identified stations.

“The failed samples show an adulteration of diesel with illuminating paraffin,” said the government entity.

The number of filling stations per province found to be selling dirty diesel were:

  • Limpopo – 15 stations
  • North West – 13 stations
  • KwaZulu-Natal – 13 stations
  • Mpumalanga – 9 stations
  • Northern Cape – 6 stations
  • Gauteng – 5 stations
  • Western Cape – 4 stations
  • Free State – 4 stations
  • Eastern Cape – 1 station

The DMRE confirmed that it followed the prescribed process to address the non-compliance issues, “including reporting the non-compliant service stations to SARS because diesel fuel adulteration is a form of tax evasion,” it said.

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