MCC shuts down Puma petrol station


company loses M180 000 revenue every day   


MASERU – With a total of 30 employees, Puma Petrol Station along the Main South I Road in Borokhoaneng, Maseru, has been forced to close shop, losing around M180 000 daily in revenue since the closure.

This after the business which started operating in December 2019 failed to fulfill its promise of constructing, among others, a “median” along the road near its premises. A median or a slip lane is a road at a junction that allows people to change roads without actually entering an intersection.

The filling station, according to the Maseru City Council (MCC) was also in the process of extending its operational capacity, building new petrol tanks without consulting with MCC, which is against the law.

But the company has instead laid the blame for delays towards the construction of the said median on the door of the MCC and the office of the Roads Directorate.

Due to the complications regarding the construction of the required median along the area, the company said there was need for a better plan because the one which was initially agreed upon by concerned parties meant, among others, that parking lots for both properties next to the filling station would be removed.

And the neighbouring properties would not be happy about that.

“We are busy at the moment pleading with the Town Clerk to, at least, allow us to operate the petrol station while we work on the median they want us to build. But they have been the ones delaying the process because earlier this year, we said we would do what they wanted.

“We even bought the materials, but later we received a letter from the MCC and Roads Directorate telling us to stop the planned construction and consult them. We did, but since then they have not come back to us with a proper plan,” argues the company’s management.

They claim the median requires that both neighbouring properties lose the parking space in front; there is a supermarket on the right hand side of the petrol station and they need the parking in front. The same goes for business on the left side of their property.

“Every business needs parking space. We are losing about M180 000 in revenue, every day. So we need guidance from MCC and the Roads Directorate but they have not been able to get back to us. Now they are using that as an excuse to stop our business.”

“They could have imposed a fine at the least, not shut down our petrol station. Many of our employees are upset because this is extreme and it seems more personal than professional,” said Phillip Huang who is part of the management of the filling station in an interview.

Through its Planning and Development Department, upon receiving a tip-off regarding the matter, the MCC decided to close the filling station last week Friday until all the necessary measures, including construction of the “median” are completed as initially agreed.

Puma will further have to follow the procedure and apply for a permit to extend its operations in the area.

On Tuesday this week, MCC explained in a statement that Puma had agreed from the beginning to undertake all the construction needed around the area before starting operations, but was surprised when the operations went ahead without any form of construction around the area.

“In 2016, the company approached MCC requesting to establish a filling station in the area. But the MCC told them that the type of business they want to establish in the area will not be appropriate and will cause traffic congestion because already, at the time, car movement along the area was not satisfying.

“To avoid this inconvenience, we told them that we have to build a median in this area but at the time, there was no budget for this. But, they committed to doing all the construction needed because they desperately needed to establish business in this area,” MCC revealed in the statement.

In 2018, Puma was given the go-ahead to build the filling station in the area on condition they also built a maiden across the road as agreed. One year later, the company started operating.

But the agreement had been breached since the construction of the maiden had not happened. “MCC was surprised by this move, but when approached, the owners said they were still in the process of fulfilling their promise.

“Recently, instead of fulfilling the promise, we are surprised to see the company further expanding the business and this time without any proper consultations with us,” MCC added. The company has, therefore, been forced to close shop until they follow due process.

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