Masoka Dube

By Masoka Dube


Government ‘derails’ Mpumalanga entrepreneur’s plans to turn plastic into fuel

Government neglect derails Mpumalanga entrepreneur turning plastic into fuel; dreams of supporting families crushed by bureaucracy.

An Mpumalanga entrepreneur who was using plastic to manufacture fuel is blaming the government for of his project’s failure.

Sibusiso Shabangu, 29, from KaMhlushwa, Nkomazi, who started his fuel manufacturing project in 2018, said the government did not support youthowned small businesses.

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Shabangu made headlines after his clients recommended his fuel, which costs less than regular fuel.

“I’m disappointed by how the business was derailed. What I was expecting was to be assisted. About two years ago, the Ehlanzeni district municipality instructed me to stop operating without an environmental licence and I had to.

“Those who promised to help me acquire the relevant documents did not come through.

“When I started up in 2018, the government promised to support me, but to no avail. Stopping the project has affected many families whose breadwinners were part of it.”

Before starting the business, Shabangu worked as a security guard for a local mining company near Sasol in Mpumalanga, which he said played a vital role in fuelling his dreams of owning a fuel making company.

He was using old tyres and plastic to produce petrol, diesel, gas and jet fuel. His factory was also producing candles and floor polish which were sold directly to the public.

When it closed, the project had more than 12 employees and was producing up to 100l of petrol and oil and from 50 to 200l of diesel.

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“Starting the project was not a difficult task as I have an understanding of engineering science and also have developed a frame of reference from Sasol where I worked as a security guard.”

Municipal spokesperson Lucky Ngomane confirmed Shabangu had been instructed to close down. “It’s simple, he should apply for a licence,” Ngomane said.

Department of mineral resources and energy spokesperson Ernest Mulibana promised to investigate why the young man was not being assisted to obtain the licence, but did not respond.

When contacted again, he said he was still trying to get the information from the department’s provincial office.