Motorists sleep in fuel queues

HARARE - As the fuel crisis continues to worsen, many motorists are sleeping in fuel queues at various pump stations.

In a survey, the Daily News observed that hundreds of people are queuing for fuel for the whole night, especially public transport operators.

“I’m in transport business, there is nothing we can do because we want our families to eat and the only option we have is to sleep here in queues so that during the day we will be able to conduct our businesses,” Billy Chatara, who is a kombi driver, said.

The Daily News witnessed some drinking beer to kill time.

But with some of the beer brands now in short supply, motorists would have to find another pastime to while away time.

Energy minister Joram Gumbo recently told the State media that the consumption of fuel has increased.

He said the country is at the moment consuming four million litres of diesel up from 2,5 million litres a week while three million litres of petrol is being pumped, up from 1,5 million litres per week.

“This high demand we believe is due to the increase in people doing business in the country due to the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra set by the new dispensation,” he said.

“At the same time, the volume of vehicles in the country has increased to unprecedented levels. Everyday several vehicles are cleared to enter the country at our borders and they also add to the rise in demand for fuel.

“We can’t also rule out a few unscrupulous people hoarding fuel for speculative purposes.”

Meanwhile, the fuel situation is also taking its toll on councils with refuse collection trucks failing to do their usual duties, thus leaving residents stranded with garbage.

Harare mayor Herbert Gomba said the municipality was no longer able to conduct its normal garbage collection trips due to the fuel woes and a shortage of garbage compactors.

“We are deploying fewer refuse compactors due to the fuel woes. We also have 15 refuse compactors, three graders and many other road equipment worth $7 million stuck in South Africa right now because we have no access to foreign currency to bring them in,” he said, adding that $1 million was required to bring in the equipment.

The Harare City Council needs 60 refuse compactors but currently has 28 which have to service all its 46 wards.

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