‘ E10 blend illegal’

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THE mandatory blending of petrol with ethanol to levels beyond E10 is being challenged in court.

EVERSON MUSHAVA
CHIEF REPORTER

A Zimbabwean citizen, Tabani Mpofu, has taken the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), Energy and Power Development minister Dzikamai Mavhaire and Green Fuels to court over the issue.

Mpofu, through his lawyer Tendai Biti, last week launched a constitutional challenge of Green Fuel’s monopoly and blending ratios. He argues the monopoly and blending ratios do not guarantee fair competition and is not in the interests of motorists. This follows the introduction by the government of mandatory blending ratios of E15 on November 30.

The blending started with 5% ethanol and 95% unleaded petrol on August 15, following the issuance of an ethanol production (mandatory blending) licence to Green Fuel on August 5. The blending increased to 10% and then 15%.

The government is now pushing for E20 by March 2014.

Mpofu said mandatory blending was a violation of the Bill of Rights contained in Chapter 4, Article 47 of the Constitution.

He said the actions by the three respondents showed contempt over Zimbabweans as the regulations to migrate from E5 up to E20 have been done without any scientific research by an independent authority.

“There is no explanation for this accelerated movement and in the absence of such, the inescapable conclusion is that the whole motive is that of profit and greed,” he said.

That was despite communication from car manufacturers, particularly Nissan Zimbabwe, pointing out the challenges of E15 and E20.

“There is also further prejudice in the pricing of this anhydrous ethanol blended fuel,” Mpofu argues.

“Whereas the international process of the anhydrous ethanol is generally $0,60, the third respondent is selling its fuel for $0,95 per litre.”

He said Green Fuels was abusing its monopoly by overcharging whereas licensed operators could procure ethanol at a lower cost from other sources.

“The issue of pricing has a further constitutional dimension which on its own justifies the setting aside of the regulations,” Mpofu said.
He queried why all operators were being forced to procure ethanol from one source.

“This is a monolithic right that is completely unconstitutional. Triangle in the Lowveld is producing anhydrous ethanol which it is being allowed to export for a price of around $0,60.

“Surely, the licensed traders and blenders ought to be allowed to purchase from such a company or others,” Mpofu argued.

He said Zera had no authority to make any regulations governing ethanol because it does not fall under petroleum products. A monopoly, he said, was also against the mandate of Zera as, according to the law, competition should be facilitated between players in the petroleum industry.

“Further, the first respondent (Zera) should protect the interest of consumers and purchasers and other users. The regulations are clearly not doing this,” said Mpofu.

“The first and second respondents (Zera and Mavhaire) overreached their powers.

“They breached Article 134 (a) by in fact, making new law, when Parliament cannot delegate its law-making powers.”

He said by August 2013, no joint venture had been made between Green Fuels and the government, making the monopoly and blending regulations a nullity.

According to the court papers E15 was introduced after Mavhire’s tour of Green Fuels and Mpofu said: “It is completely unconstitutional for him to take his opinions as policy, despite that Zera expressed reservations in the proposed ratios.

Mpofu argues ethanol was 12% to 25% less efficient than unleaded fuel and that it burns faster than unleaded fuel.

1 COMMENT

  1. If only we had more pple like this individual in this country, a lot would be done. Our cars are being damaged by this and we cannot talk of the effect on our pockets…so much disprespect for the ordinary motorist.

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