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How much money petrol attendants earn in South Africa

How much money petrol attendants earn in South Africa

The South African government is set to implement a national minimum wage in 2016; and is currently seeking council on what that amount should be.

Petrol attendants form one part of the service industry who rely heavily on tips to boost their relatively low wages.

South Africa is one of the more unique countries in that it does not have self-service fuel options at petrol stations, relying on attendants to service customers, and handle transactions.

According to the Fuel Retailer’s Association, petrol stations employ around 70,000 people across the country.

Previous reports on petrol attendants stated that most are young men, with an average age of 27. More than half had worked in the same position for in excess of five years, while individual salaries can reach R9,000 per month, depending on which company they work for.

According to the wage schedule for the motor industry, petrol attendants’ minimum wage is set at R22.75 per hour, or R1,024 per week (roughly R4,100 a month).

These wages have been set to August 2016.

While tipping petrol attendants is not compulsory, the practice has become customary in South Africa as the workers perform many “complimentary” services.

Currently, wage regulation in South Africa takes place through collective bargaining and direct regulation of pay for vulnerable workers via the sectoral determinations.

The average minimum wage is a monthly sum of R2,731.74 across all the private-sector bargaining councils; and in the region of R2,362.36 across all the sectoral determinations.

Union Cosatu has called for a national minimum wage of between R4,500 and R6,000 to be set for workers in South Africa. This echoes the call from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to establish a national minimum wage of R4,500 in 2016.

The DA meanwhile, says that while it is not against minimum wages, it needs to be sector specific to avoid job losses.

Economist Mike Schüssler says that South Africa’s formal sector is already paying well above the minimum wage as the department of labour debates the level at which it should be set.

In an opinion article on MoneyWeb, Schüssler, who is an economist at, pointed to research indicating a median wage in the formal sector of approximately R5,100 per month.

This, he noted, is above a median figure of R4,800 per month cited by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) in its Labour Force Survey (LFS), with additional research showing that the median wage could be closer to R8,134.

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BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
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  • Konstabel Koekemoer

    The most unnecessary job out there l, I rather pump my own fuel and definately don’t tip them. We already pay for their service in inflated fuel price so why should I still tip for a service I don’t want. With card paymebts now very prevelant I doubt that many people tip them these days.

    • Shiizzo

      How much of the price per liter goes to the petrol station?

      • Maestro

        Between 60-80 cents goes to the petrol station as revenue (not profit).

        • Unger Bantu

          I could be wrong but I believe 3-5 cent of that goes to petrol station employees (collectively)

          • eyesuc

            The more you pomp the more you pay? I like it 🙂

      • jandr0

        And how much goes to the biggest thieves in history – the government.

      • Fanandala

        I just checked on the net and it said there “dealer margin” 59.7 cents per liter.
        So if you fill up your small car with 50 liter, the dealer gets 30 Rand.

    • Darryl

      So you punish the person trying to feed himself and perhaps a family?


      • Yokodera

        Sadly there’s many people like him who don’t tip or even treat the petrol attendants like humans, I mean it costs nothing to be polite to them and what R5 on top of your tank of petrol/diesel, pathetic is the definitely the best way to describe people like that.

        • jandr0

          [Sadly there’s many people like him who don’t tip…]

          Personally, I do not tip when the service does not deserve a tip. The only thing “sadly” about that is the poor service (and accomapnying lack of work ethic).

          […or even treat the petrol attendants like humans.]

          Nowhere is there ANY evidence that the original commenter does not treat attendants like humans.

          Your false, unfounded accusation reflects poorly on you.

          [pathetic is the definitely the best way to describe people like that.]

          Pathetic is definitely the best way to describe your poorly construed “argument.”

          • Blapartheid Zulu

            Well SAID!

      • jandr0

        [So you punish the person trying to feed himself and perhaps a family?]

        No, that is NOT what he claimed.


        Yes, your false accusation is pathetic.

        And so are all the (upvoting) people who succumbed to your emotional appeal and missed the logic fail.

        Proof postive that people DO NOT THINK.

      • S S

        No. he is saying he does not need someone to put petrol in his car.
        Like I don’t need a porter at the airport, I can push my own trolley.
        I also don’t need someone to show me an open parking that I have seen myself.
        You are welcome to tip or give to beggars, which I also do, but mostly these jobs are unnecessary

    • Mntungwa Mbhulazi

      instead of directing your anger on the hapless attendants, maybe you should need to use a bike. these men and women, some of then breadwinner, offer more than the petrol in your tank. friendship, smiles, directions, advise, crime prevention, etc., are some of the unpaid for services freely offered.

      • jandr0

        […unpaid for services freely offered]

        It is not freely offered.

        • Mntungwa Mbhulazi

          You pay how much for the smiles, free toilets, and directions?

          • Fanandala

            Not that I am against tipping, but surely the toilets you pay for in the price of petrol. Would the petrol station owners close the toilets if they had no pump jockeys?

          • Mntungwa Mbhulazi

            That which you take for granted, you will miss the most when it is taken away or you have to pay for it. Think about that! Just be grateful for small mercies. It doesn’t hurt, Fana! Unless…

      • Blapartheid Zulu

        If it is indeed friendship, smiles, directions, advise, crime prevention, i would gladly tip them! however….

      • slitza

        and get killed by speeding taxi’s driving in yellow lanes? Do you even logic?

    • meep

      It’s really just job creation. This country has far too many unemployed people and some jobs simply arent as useful or glamorous as others. Many other countries you can just pump your own fuel and personally I prefer it. Here they prevent that by giving fuel pump attendees transponders to activate and reset the pumps. I tip them just like I would any waiter.

      • Blapartheid Zulu

        Yes we need more jobs in this country for people that don’t want to work, some are unnecessary and some are luxurious benefits (such as maid & Gardener) that other country dream of.

  • Jon Low

    It’s a “make-work” pseudo-job, like “car-guards”. Elsewhere in the world you pump your own fuel and all filling-stations will have an on-call general staff member available on request in case the driver is too disabled to pump their own fuel.

    • DudeWithPetLeopard

      “Pseudo-job”? Like the person who does people’s gardens and clean their houses? And the one that routes people’s phone calls, organises their offices and diaries? And those driving people around and picking their kids up from school?

      • Dreigorian

        I think he means “job” creation since the there are too many people and too little work…breeding cops should be created

      • Jon Low

        People who work in domestic and groundskeeping services are doing it because their employers PREFER to avoid doing that work themselves and are willing to hire someone to get the job done. That is a REAL job.

        Petrol attendants are not doing work that fuel-purchasers are unwilling or unable to do. They are doing what the law prevents them from doing for themselves — and that makes it a pseudo-job.

  • Red_Baron1234

    Who carry cash anyway to tip, most of the time I see credit cards. The fuel is too expensive to to carry cash.

    • Blapartheid Zulu

      CASH = unnecessary trouble in south africa

  • RJ

    I still find it very strange to put in my own fuel at a petrol station here in Sweden… I miss running into the shop while the tank is filled, windscreen has been cleaned tires checked.

    • GTDae

      Yep, something very unique to our country. When you come to visit you will find it weird having someone do it for you!! 🙂

    • I don’t know about that – When I was in england I could enter the amount of fuel I wanted and clip the trigger up then go the the shop.

      • RJ

        Interesting, here in Sweden or as far as the town I live in goes, you put in your card, then add fuel manually till you are satisfied and then deducts it from the card.

  • Pieter

    Minimum wages denies somebody the freedom to choose where he wants to work for what salary he are happy with.

  • Jaco Rautenbach

    Crap, they earn more than me… and I’m sure they pay taxes on their tips 🙂

  • MP3

    to be honest i’d rather fill my own tank, the number of times i’ve had to wait FOREVER for some fat arse to eventually get up and come and put a pipe into my car adds up to several hours of my life wasted.

    hours i cld use to complain about something in more articles… 😛

    • Blapartheid Zulu

      and when you ask them for a till slip they give you this look like you just killed his mother, then they drag their feet to the till. YES, i would rather fill up my own car too!

    • slitza

      I would also rather fill my own car because I’ve yet to meet a petrol attendant that knows how a bloody air valve works and i don’t even want to think how much of my hard earned money these glorified attendants have wasted by letting petrol burst out of my tank and then they don’t even wash it off. scumbags

  • Wurnman

    On my bike i throw petrol in my self as 80% of the time they mess fuel all over the tank.

  • Blapartheid Zulu

    They actually earn decent money, but thanks to the anc , the inflation and currency , these salary won’t mean much soon.

  • The people who are getting lousy service – either you live in a place very different to any I’ve been to or you’re doing it wrong. I find that being polite to people pays dividends. If they then are not polite back, it’s their problem at that point. Not just buying petrol but with any service. In the US where retail and service businesses train staff to treat the customer as royalty, you get this without trying. But we don’t live in the US, and I do not see any point in being miserable about that and not trying to spread a little cheerfulness and pleasantness. And getting better service (most times) as a dividend.

    In countries where petrol is self-serve, you don’t have enough people willing to work for minimum wage. In a growing number of countries, supermarkets checkouts are increasingly self-serve for the same reason. I would rather more people were in jobs before we went that way.

    If you enjoy being grumpy and going home annoyed by all the people you deal with, good for you. You probably are never disappointed.

    • Too true! My local garage chaps all know me, I get excellent service, big smiles, massive efforts to serve me because I tip and am friendly. Sometimes I have no cash or need windows cleaned only but nothing is too much trouble.

  • #TimeForChange

    No Employee of a medium to large company should be forced to live in a shack due to low wages. They should be paid a living wage – enough to buy a home, and send their children to school. Who disagrees ? Medium and large companies should sign a collective agreement to adhere to these basic principles. They should apply to mineworkers, fast food workers, cleaners – any employee regardless of rank, working for a medium to large company.

    • Fanandala

      I think this statement wrong. We have legions of unskilled and unemployed people. If you overprice their services there is no chance of a job for them at all.
      Apart from that, petrol stations are just a retail business. Most of them belong to small business men.
      As is mentioned in the article, and readers contribution the job does not exist in many countries. I go to Germany and I see 80 year old grannies pumping themselves.
      They don’t have a packer at the tills either. So you better stay nimble.

  • Sanele Sane Sato

    Petrol attendants are not a need, but they provide a great service. It’s a convenience to be able to stay in your comfortable chair while your car is refilled, wheels are pumped and windows are cleaned. I don’t always tip for the service as I don’t really carry cash anymore, but when I have, I tip. Also honestly, the more people we have with jobs, the less the crime we have to deal with. If we end the jobs of petrol attendants, what will these 70 000 men turn to for survival? Crime is the best bet.

  • Frank Payne

    In the rest of the world one often pumps one’s own petrol. The economic value of pumping petrol cannot be worth R4500 – R6000 a month by any stretch of the imagination. This is not an argument against the ravages of the cost of living, which are real concerns, but an indication of the effects that an unbridled explosion in the population, coupled with a deficient education system in a scenario of a stressed economy, can have on people, when money is thrown at uneconomic programmes. None of these issues has been effectively addressed by an incompetent government or in fact by organized labour, both of whom make unrealistic economic income demands which the economy will never be able to deliver. One can’t continue to fund a non productive economy indefinitely without running the risk of economic implosion. This is a given without even taking into account the rampant theft and corruption that exists at all levels. It’s as basic as the subject matter in a book “Economics for Dummies”, but the dummies aren’t reading it.

  • AnRkey

    I’ll never forget the first time I took a car to the petrol station in London. I sat there waiting and waiting and then realized that everyone was doing it themselves 😀

  • bookworm

    A decent salary whatever the job you do would be wondrous. Even having a job for a great many of us out there would be even more wondrous!!!

  • Gustav Willem Diedericks

    “While tipping petrol attendants is not compulsory, the practice has become customary in South Africa as the workers perform many “complimentary” services.”

    I’m not aware of this. I have never tipped petrol attendants, and never seen anyone do this. Anyone else here seen this?

    • LegallySpeaking

      I’ve been tipping then for the last 5 years. So does many other people I know.

      • Gustav Willem Diedericks

        Wow ok, never knew that.

    • What planet do you live on? Of course you tip! Depending on service of course … washing windows, friendliness, speed, efficiency, offer to check oil/water …

    • Fanandala

      I only tip if they wash the windows (provided they could do with it)

    • catherine

      I always tip if I have change.

  • slitza

    Paid for or required services: filling in petrol, washing the front window, checking oil and water, inflating tyres.
    Complimentary services: spilling petrol, taking their time and stealing yours, stealing card information to resell, scratching cars, w.h.y.
    If I could reduce the money they get by any means I would, because this is a worthless job and I’d rather fill my own petrol and know its done properly without damage to my car.

  • Erlo Muhl

    To boost the economy and save this country of failure, salaries should be linked to productivity and not by fixing minimum wages. Give all that are unemployed a chance to get work and see how productive the lazy become.

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