South African fuel retailers welcome new forum in bid to crack down on non-compliance

The South African fuel retailing industry has welcomed the establishment of the Public Petroleum Products Act (PPA) Compliance Forum, hailing it as a step in the right direction to counter the rampant non-compliance in the industry.

Fuel Retailers Association of Southern Africa (FRA) chief executive Reggie Sibiya said that it was their view that the move to constitute the forum of all stakeholders was the first step in the right direction in an attempt to deal with issues of non-compliance and transgressions with statutory provisions within the industry.

“The inclusion of the law enforcement agencies such as the SAPS and National Prosecuting Authority together with SA Revenue Service (Sars) is also to be welcomed as a step in the right direction.

The FRA proposes special and dedicated police and prosecutors with special training in the implementation of legislation pertaining to the industry. The effective utilisation of penalties prescribed by the act will also be a serious deterrent and reduce non-compliance,” said Sibiya.

Last week, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) announced that it had established the PPA Compliance Forum comprised of petroleum industry stakeholders, including wholesalers and retail associations, and law enforcement agencies such as the SAPS and Sars, with the aim of finding solutions to curb non-compliance.

The department called on the public to be vigilant and report to the DMRE’s regional inspectors any petroleum operator suspected of non-compliance with the PPA, or of engaging in illegal and illicit fuel trading, including any conducting petroleum products manufacturing, wholesaling or retailing activities without an applicable licence by the Controller of Petroleum Products, wholesalers operating as retailers (dual operations), site development without a relevant site licence, and the sale of inferior quality petrol and diesel contrary to prescribed specifications and standards.

Others include the sale of ULP 93 at the price of ULP 95 to unsuspecting retailers and motorists (especially in outlying areas), or sale of petroleum products contrary to the price determined by the minister, non-disclosure of fuel storage facilities, huge diesel price discounts, suspected mixing of diesel with paraffin (diesel adulteration) and B-BBE fronting.

The DMRE said any person who contravened a provision of the PPA would be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding R1 million, or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

The FRA said it would give its unqualified support for the forum for as long as it was not turned into another talk shop without effective implementation of the resolutions and application of the law in dealing with issues of non-compliance and transgression within the industry.