Government yesterday came down hard on errant service stations countrywide, closing them for refusing electronic modes of payment and only accepting hard cash.
Ruyamuro service stations in Glendale, Harare and Nzvimbo Growth Point in Chiweshe were shut down for refusing alternative payment methods, except cash.
Engen at the corner of Harare Street and Robert Mugabe Road was closed for the same reason.
Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi said Government, through the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), was in the process of revoking licences for filling stations breaching the law, following several warnings a few months ago.
He said stern measures being taken against irresponsible filling station operators were appropriate in the circumstances, to bring sanity in the fuel sector.
“The public has been and continues to be at the receiving end of irresponsible service station operators. This really has got to come to an end,” he said.
Minister Chasi said all along, Government has been engaging the fuel industry to desist from “unbecoming behaviour”.
“We have pointed out that we need order in the sector,” he said. “People must comply with the law.”
The minister said when conditions for licensing were not complied with, the regulator should take action, adding that he expected more action by Zera regarding errant filling stations.
Some filling stations, Minister Chasi said, were refusing electronic modes of payment because they wanted cash to enable them to buy foreign currency on the black market, despite accessing foreign currency through formal channels.
“This cannot go on and one hopes that other operators will learn something from the action that has been taken and is being taken,” he said.
“Now if you have one licence and you operate five service stations and you are caught at one you are still the miscreant, you are the same person, even if you are running other sites and those in this business need to take heed so that they will not say we never told them.
“Government gave warning months ago that the misbehaviour that we are seeing needs to come to an end. This is the beginning.”
A snap survey by The Herald last night established that some filling stations were insisting that motorists pay only in cash while a selected few still sold in United States Dollars.
Engen Service Station at Corner Robert Mugabe and Kaguvi and Total along Samora Machel Avenue and Chinhoyi Street opted for cash and swipe, cash and Eco-Cash respectively.
This development comes after Zera announced new fuel prices that vary depending on the location where the commodity is being sold, after the authority factored in the cost of transporting the fuel.