Oily manna at Christmas Pass

MUTARE residents on Monday afternoon scrambled to collect crude cooking oil that was spilling from a tanker that had been involved in an accident at the Christmas Pass.

The truck driver, Mr Collin Kapangara, escaped unhurt.
The Harare-bound truck was transporting 35 000 litres of crude cooking oil from Beira, Mozambique, for processing at Cangrow Trading Company.

The company produces Raha cooking oil.

In an interview with The Manica Post, Mr Kapangara said the truck swerved, resulting in the pin that hooks the trailer’s fifth wheel breaking.

“I was driving at about 40km per hour. When I was about to ascend the Christmas Pass, the truck swerved and the pin that hooks the trailer’s fifth wheel broke.

“I did not realise it at first because the horse kept on going. However, the unhooked trailer remained behind and landed on the adjacent lane, thereby blocking all the traffic that was going towards the city centre,” he said.

Mr Kapangara said he immediately parked the truck’s horse and returned to the trailer.

He said multitudes of people started gathering around the tanker, with many of them bringing all sorts of containers to siphon the spilling oil. Police confirmed the accident and said investigations are in progress.

When The Manica Post visited the scene, empty containers of all shapes and sizes were strewn all over.

A good number of shoes had been left behind as residents ran away from the police who had come to restore order.

“The other side of the trailer cracked and all the crude oil was lost. However, the other part of the trailer was unlocked by people as they scrambled to get the oil. They were scooping the oil and filling up their containers. It was a free for all situation. They only stopped when the police arrived,” said Mr Kapangara.

Other people even resorted to scooping oil from the road.
Eye witnesses said people came from as far as Dangamvura to collect the crude oil, with some filling up drums.

A vendor, Ms Fungai Chimere, said: “People looted the crude oil. The driver tried to stop them, but his plea fell on deaf ears. I saw people, some from as far as Dangamvura, looting the oil.

“Some hired trucks to ferry their loot to unknown destinations. Some were discussing about the market of their loot,” she said.

When The Manica Post visited the Chikanga Produce market a few hours later, the crude cooking oil was already on sale, with a two-litre bottle going for US$3.

A two-litre bottle of cooking oil costs between US$4,50 and US$7.
Health experts say crude oils like soybean, palm, corn, and sunflower oils must be purified or refined before consumption.

The process of refining crude oil ensures the elimination of pollutants in cooking oil.


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