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Fuel blending challenged

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THE Constitutional Court (ConCourt) yesterday heard an application by a Harare man, Thabani Mpofu, who is challenging a regulation passed by the government that compels motorists in the country to use ethanol blended petrol.

SENIOR COURT REPORTER

In his application, Mpofu who was represented by Tendai Biti, cited the Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority (Zera), Energy and Power Development minister and Greenfuels (Pvt) Ltd which produces ethanol blend in Chisumbanje, as the first, second and third respondents, respectively.

In May last year the government published the Petroleum (mandatory blending ethanol with unleaded petrol) Regulation Statutory Instrument 17 of 2013, establishing the mandatory and compulsory blending of all petrol to be sold in Zimbabwe.

In his submissions, Mpofu said the regulations that all motorists in the country are required to use ethanol-blended petrol, were in violation of his constitutional rights to choice and fairness.

“The regulations infringe on my constitutional rights to equal treatment and benefit of the law,” he submitted.

“They are in breach of Section 134 of the Constitution in so far as they are made to oversee the ambit of the Petroleum Act chapter 13:22.

“The regulations are in breach of Section 134 of the Constitution in that they are incompatible with the Act that mothered them in this, there is no power in the Act to provide for the regulations of anything other than petroleum products,” he said.

“In any event, they do not even promote competition or the interests of purchasers, consumers and other players.”

Mpofu said apart from his individual rights, he was acting in the public interest in bringing such legal action, which had a bearing on the country’s economy and on virtually every individual in Zimbabwe.

Representing the government, Tinei Dodo argued that the regulations did not in any way infringe on Mpofu’s rights and neither did they infringe on the generality of the Zimbabweans.

Dodo urged the court to dismiss Mpofu’s application, while Mpofu prayed that the court must nullify and set aside the regulations. Judgment in the matter was reserved.

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