The Sunday News
Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) said it is going to engage relevant partners and descend heavily on individuals who are delivering fuel to the public in unsafe containers and at inflated forex rates warning that it is illegal to sell fuel anywhere other than at a registered filling station.
The warning comes at the back of advertisements circulating on social media platforms where fuel can be delivered anywhere within the suppliers’ reach at varying prices of forex depending on distance.
The acting chief executive office for Zera Mr Eddington Mazambani said heavy fines were going to be imposed on those found breaking the law.
“Selling of petroleum products is a gazetted enterprise under the Petroleum Act Cap. 13:22 Section 29. It is illegal for any person or company to sell or retail fuel products without a license from Zera which is issued in terms of Section 31 of the Petroleum Act Cap. 13:22.
“Transporting of petroleum products, which are classified as hazardous, without a valid permit is also an offence under the Environmental Management Authority Act Cap. 20:27,” he said.
The acting CEO said they do not under any circumstances grant licences to sites that do not meet the terms and conditions to operate as retail sites as stated in the Act.
He further went on to give requirements that one needed to fulfil if one wanted to sell fuel in the country.
“A licensee must be a Zimbabwean registered company and should provide a Certificate of Incorporation, CR14, CR6 and CR2 forms. A licence for retail outlet is site specific.
A retail licensee shall provide a certified copy of title deeds or lease agreement for the retail site. A retail licensee shall provide a certified copy of Local Authority Licence. A retailer’s premises of operation shall have sufficient facilities to prevent outbreaks of fire. A retail licensee shall provide a certified copy of Environmental Management Agency Hazardous substance storage and sale licence,” he noted.
However, the mobile traders do not possess most of the requirements by virtue of them being mobile making them unsuitable candidates to sell fuel by any means.
In one instance, a supplier was charging US$25 for 20 litres of fuel including delivery to one’s doorstep. The supplier in his advert says customers no longer need to spend time queuing for fuel as it can be delivered to one’s doorstep.
Mr Mazambani, however, said there were fire hazards that were posed by the sale of fuel from undesignated places such as from tanks in open trucks and warned the public on buying from such people.
“Delivering fuel from door to door poses fire hazards, environmental contamination and compromises fuel quality due to improper handling.
The public is urged not to buy from unlicensed entities, fill up fuel from undesignated and unapproved sites and should shun fuel delivered from door to door and report such activities to the law enforcement agents,” he said.
Despite numerous calls warning the public from buying fuel from undesignated places, the public is found wanting as they still engage the services of illegal fuel suppliers.
The unscrupulous fuel dealers are also alleged to be mixing fuel with unknown liquids in order to increase volumes and improve their profits while vehicles risk being damaged due to the mixture of liquids used.
However, during the Christmas week many service stations had fuel, which brought a sigh of relief to the motorists.