Illegal selling of fuel has become a booming business in Bulawayo, with procurement officers (buyers) from fuel companies reportedly making deals with the illegal dealers to sell the product on the streets.
Fuel shortages that have been ongoing in the country since October 2018 have fuelled the mushrooming of “walking fuel service stations”. A fuel dealer who spoke to The Chronicle on condition of anonymity said:
People that buy fuel for companies are making money. We pay them so that when they come to buy fuel on an account, they treble figures then the amount due is receipted separately. We then take our share and sell it to make a profit.
Meanwhile, some fuel dealers said it was easy to evade arrest when caught with fuel. A dealer who operates along Five Street near Busuman Service Station told the publication:
It is easy to get away, when the police come, we tell them we are helping a friend who ran out of fuel. If we use jerrycans, they cannot do anything.
Being found in possession of petrol or diesel is not a crime. But when we use plastic containers, then that’s the only trouble as fuel must not be put in plastic containers. But there are ways of talking and in the street, if you know the language, you survive.
Illegal fuel dealers are selling 5 litres of petrol and diesel was going for R100 or US$7 while at some licensed fuel service stations that sell in forex, five litres of diesel was going for US$6,45 and five litres of petrol is being sold at US$7,15.