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WRONG FUEL SETS GOVT CAR UP IN FLAMES

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SITEKI – A government vehicle burst into flames after it was mistakenly filled with diesel instead of petrol.
This happened at the Central Transport Authority (CTA) Siteki Depot, yesterday afternoon.


The vehicle, a Toyota Hilux whose value is estimated at over E100 000, was registered under His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS).


CTA employees responsible for filling up government vehicles allegedly committed the error by filling the vehicle with the wrong fuel, said a witness.


“They immediately realised the mistake and they resolved to drain the diesel from the fuel tank,” said the witness.
And after draining the diesel, the witness said, the CTA employees refuelled the vehicle with petrol and then ordered the driver to start the engine.


As the driver was starting the engine, the vehicle burst into flames and a loud bang reverberated around the area, witnesses alleged.
Firefighters were then called to the scene but by the time they arrived, the vehicle was already burnt.


Unhurt


The driver of the vehicle, who is a warder, managed to escape unhurt and the CTA workers who were standing in front of the vehicle when it started burning, were also not injured.


The driver later told this reporter that he was from Bhalekane Correctional facility to collect containers of sour milk (emasi).
His journey took him to Siteki where he had to refuel the vehicle before heading back to Matsapha Correctional facility.
The driver said he was aware that the vehicle had a petrol engine and he blamed the CTA employees for filling it up with the wrong type of fuel.
“They alleged that they usually confuse the fuel pumps, thus they filled the vehicle with the wrong fuel,” he stated.
An official at the depot confirmed that the vehicle was filled with  diesel instead of petrol.
But he could not explain how the fuel attendants had allegedly committed the error.


Meanwhile, another government vehicle which was found parked next to the fuel pumps was alleged to have also been filled with the wrong fuel.
Some CTA workers said the vehicle, which is used by Siphofaneni police, was filled with petrol instead of diesel.


“The plan was that the petrol should be drained but after what happened, everybody is scared,” said a CTA employee.
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Khulani Mamba, said nobody was injured when the vehicle burst into flames.


He said firefighters managed to put out the fire before it could spread to nearby vehicles and other structures within the depot.
Attempts to get a comment from HMCs Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Gugulethu Dlamini, were unsuccessful as her mobile phone rang unanswered when called yesterday evening.

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