Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane on Wednesday said he will be writing a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete requesting a debate of national importance in Parliament about the tax and levy structure for fuel in the country.
Speaking to commuters and taxi drivers at Noord Taxi Rank in Johannesburg, Maimane tried to engage with both on how to mitigate the negative effects of last night’s astronomical fuel hike on the pockets of poor, working class, and middle class South Africans.
Maimane was accompanied by the DA’s national spokesperson Refiloe Nt’sekhe, DA Gauteng provincial leader John Moodey and DA’s Shadow of Transport Minister Many De Freitas.
South Africans now have to cough up R15.79 for a litre of petrol – which the DA says is the highest it has been since 1994.
Maimane stated that over the past 100 days, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) declared financial war on ordinary South Africans.
“Through increases in Value Added Tax (VAT), Income Tax, RAF (Road Accident Fund) levy, general fuel levy, and so-called ‘sin taxes’ – the South African public has been strong-armed into paying for the sins of the ANC government. This is not the change we hoped for,” said Maimane.
All South Africans are being made to pay for the shortcomings and corruption of the ANC government, he added.
He reminded the commuters that when Ramaphosa was elected as President of South Africa the price of petrol per litre was at R13.76.
“Today just over 100 days later, petrol costs R15.79 per litre which is a R2.03 increase per litre – or 14.75% increase. After just over 100 days of a Ramaphosa Presidency, it costs approximately R100 more to fill the tank of an average sized car. South Africans are angry – and rightly so,” said Maimane.
Fuel increase will directly affect poor and working-class South Africans through increase in the cost of taxi fares, he said.
According to the South African National Taxi Council, during the fuel increase of 67c/l in September last year, the increase per journey was up to R5 – depending on distance and region.
“There will no doubt be an even heftier increase this time around, affecting the more than 50% of South African households that are dependent on taxis for transport,” Maimane suggested.
In addition to the recent fuel increase, the indirect and often hidden costs of this unprecedented fuel hike will again hit ordinary South Africans the hardest, he warned.
“Due to the fact that most food in South Africa is transported via trucks, a fuel price increase inevitably leads to a food price increase,” he predicted.
He said that South Africans were spending more of their hard-earned money on food and transport under Ramaphosa’s ANC government and pointed out that this could be avoided.
Maimane also called for the RAF to be placed under independent and external administration to eradicate corruption, install competent and independent leadership, and begin the process of tackling its R160-billion backlog in unpaid claims.
“Last year alone, the RAF, which brings in 99.6% of its revenue from the fuel levy, made a loss of R30-billion – the biggest loss of any State-owned entity for the financial year – running a deficit for five consecutive years. This is down to sheer mismanagement and tolerance of corruption,” said Maimane.
The DA leader said despite all the enthusiasm and expectancy that greeted Ramaphosa when he was elected South African President, the economy cannot grow under the stranglehold of all of the recent tax increases.
“We are left to ask where the so-called “New Dawn” is for ordinary South Africans. It appears to be just more taxes and less money at the end of the month. This shows quite clearly that talk shops, summits and PR stunts will not fix our economic mess and bring real and immediate change to South Africa. South Africa requires real change, and real change lies outside of the ANC,” concluded Maimane.