There is a reason you never see the uber-rich queuing up for fuel. Either they are well connected with fuel companies they actually get invited to the service station so they can fill up or they are just getting their fuel from the black market. We have had occasion to witness both these things happen.

The phone call for the well connected

Recently we witnessed the very critical role that service stations play when it comes to the black market. The line we are always fed is that the black market is supplied by truck drivers who still from their employers by draining their tanks and selling excess fuel. Given the volumes that the black market seems to have that has always seemed unlikely to be their only source of fuel.

A garage close,part of a popular company, to the CBD recently got a delivery of fuel. Desperate motorists had already queued up to fill their tanks. Only about half had been served before the fuel attendants dismissed the rest. All three attendants promptly whipped out their phones and send messages, presumably on WhatsApp.

Just like that a 20 minutes later sleek cars started arriving and getting served. The few suspicious customers who had stayed behind from the early batch started complaining loudly but were told that these sleek cats getting a drink were coupon holders who had already paid for the fuel.

Just as we stood by scores of rowdy youths carrying tons of Jerry cans started arriving on the other pump and even they got served. They were about 40 such man and they all got served. The third attendant had disappeared and just before each one of these youths was served they all had the coincidental urge to visit the toilet from where they can bearing a small white piece of paper with something scribbled on it.

Open black market

Some of the youths with Jerry cans even had the temerity to offer their new acquired wares, helpless motorist who had been denied service. The new prices were $1.30 for both diesel and petrol.