Fuel crisis hits homes and sellers

2016-07-14 06:00
Matshutsha Qoqa, 56, one of residents affected by the shortage of paraffin, in Khayelitsha. She was in a queue in Site B on Friday. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

Matshutsha Qoqa, 56, one of residents affected by the shortage of paraffin, in Khayelitsha. She was in a queue in Site B on Friday. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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With the winter chill in full swing, residents in Khayelitsha and areas like Gugulethu, Nyanga and Langa are not spared its terror in the face of shortages of paraffin and the extortionate prices charged by vendors around the province.

Economics call it a period where demand outstrips supply.

Even the huge supermarkets in our mall fail to meet the demand factor.

Other economists are already accusing suppliers of holding back on supply in order to charge high prices.

In some places like Gugulethu, paraffin has shot up from between R10 and R12 to R16 and R20 a litre, within a week.

This week alone, consumers have risked life and limb, standing in long queues, from dusk to midnight, waiting their chance to by fuel.

Some end up going home empty-handed.

There have been long queues everyday at Boxer Superstore, in Site B, with consumers coming with their containers, but at times getting disappointed after being told it has run-out.

Matshutsha Qoqa, 56, a paraffin vendor who is one of those residents who are badly affected by the shortage of paraffin, said as a result the prices from the Superstore have become inconsistent.

“Tomorrow’s prices maybe higher than today’s” she lamented.

“The shortage of paraffin is badly affecting me, because I have five children who depend on me. I come here every midnight. I have to hire a car and I pay R150 for the night, because the car has to wait for me until the morning. I do not even think of the issue of safety, because selling paraffin is my only source of income,” Qoqa said.

City Vision found Qoqa still waiting in the queue a day after this interview.

According to her, initially, they had bought a litre at R6,50, then it was raised to R7,50 and R9 before it shot to R15 on the same day.

“The police came when we were protesting to ensure that there was order. The price was then reduced to R9 and the superstore said the price was only for the day. Our customers we crock them when we also change prices every day,” Qoqa said.

Qoqa sells paraffin from her home in Site B. Florance Pasenja, 56, she was also at the queque by at midnight.

“It is very cold here, but we do not have any other way of getting the paraffin. I cook with paraffin and keep my house warm with it, so I really need it,” Pasenja said.

An assistant manager at the shop, who wished to remain anonymous, saying he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the shortage of paraffin is something that hits the country every winter.

He said suppliers struggle to meet the high demand for the gas. He also said the changing prices resulted from the high demand for the fuel.

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