PRETORIA, July 24 – Leader of the opposition Democratic (DA) Alliance Mmusi Maimane on Tuesday said a “collective mass protest” was going to be held next week in Pretoria against fuel price hikes in South Africa.
Speaking to reporters Maimane said: “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 10 am 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”.
Indications are that next Wednesday the price of fuel is set to go up again.
Maimane added: “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 the Cyril Ramaphosa-led government is now being given “an opportunity to stand on the side of ordinary South Africans by reducing the fuel levies and lowering the fuel price”.
The petrol price in South Africa this year reached an all-time high earlier this month when it breached R16 per liter in inland provinces for the first time.
“2018 will be remembered as the year in which the ANC government declared war on poor South Africans through relentless tax increases,” said Maimane.
“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,” said Maimane.
“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.
“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.”
Among other interventions, the DA and civic society movements are urging the government to reduce the Road Accident Fund (RAF) levy.
“In order to shield ordinary South Africans from the crippling effects of these fuel price increases we call on President Ramaphosa and his government to urgently implement the following: reduce the RAF and general fuel levies by R1 per litre or 20 percent, which will enable the price of petrol to be brought to below R15 per litre,” said Maimane.
“Table 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.”
Maimane also suggested placing 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 liter.”
– African News Agency (ANA)