THE Democratic Alliance has challenged President Cyril Ramaphosa to reduce the petrol levy by R1 for every litre in a bid to give consumers some breathing space.
Maimane earlier in the week said the year will be remembered as one in which the ANC government declared war on poor South Africans through relentless tax increases.
He said in addition to a one percentage point increase in VAT to 15%, increases in Income Tax, increases in “sin tax” and an increase in sugar tax, South Africans have been hit with no less than four fuel price increases in four consecutive months, in April, May, June and July – with another increase set for August.
“When Cyril Ramaphosa was elected President of South Africa the price of petrol per litre was R14.12. It now costs over R16 per litre to refuel your vehicle with 95 octane unleaded petrol in Gauteng. This equates to, on average, almost R100 more every time you fill your tank. Every cent of this massive increase is absorbed by ordinary South Africans, either directly through increased transport costs, or indirectly by the resulting rising food prices,” said Maimane.
“And it is the poor who bear the brunt of this onslaught as they spend a disproportionately large amount of their income on food and transport. This is simply not sustainable. Something has to give. Poor South Africans are already stretched to breaking point by a stagnant economy and spiralling unemployment, and there is no sign of this improving any time soon.”
Maimane added that government must stop blaming the increments on “international markets”, as 33% of our fuel price is made up of two levies: the general fuel levy and the Road Accident Fund (RAF) levy.
“Currently levies and duties account for R5,30 of every litre of 95 octane petrol, or R265 of every 50L fuel tank. When you factor in the staggering mismanagement and corruption at the RAF, these exorbitant levies simply cannot be justified. Last year alone the RAF made a loss of R30bn – the biggest loss of any State-Owned Entity – and they have been running at a deficit for five consecutive years,” he said.
Maimane said government must reduce the RAF and general fuel levies by R1 per litre or 20% which will enable the price of petrol to be brought to below R15 per litre. He also called for the tabling of an urgent debate in Parliament to consider the current structure of the RAF and General Fuel Levies, and how these can be altered to offer relief to ordinary South Africans.
“Place the RAF under independent and external administration in order to eradicate corruption, install competent and independent leadership, and begin the process of tackling its R160 billion backlog in unpaid claims. We cannot afford to delay these interventions. People are already struggling to survive, and it will only get worse unless we immediately bring the petrol price below R15 per litre,” he said.
Maimane was joined by members of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and taxi associations in Tshwane where they also announced a march to National Treasury next Tuesday to protest the fuel price hike. He called on all sectors of society to join the march and to add their voice.
“Therefore, we call on all South Africans to join us in collective mass protest outside National Treasury’s offices in Tshwane on Tuesday the 31st of July at 10am where we will be calling for an immediate reduction in the fuel levies. If enough people add their voices, they won’t be able to ignore us. We invite NGOs, political parties, religious bodies, taxi associations, civil society organisations, and ordinary South Africans to join this protest. This is not a party-political fight. This is a civil society movement representing every South African struggling to make ends meet in these trying economic times,” he said.
DA challenges Ramaphosa to reduce petrol levy