The cost of living for ordinary South Africans has spiralled out of control, says Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance, who has called for the president Cyril Ramaphosa to bring down the price of petrol.
As petrol prices went up again in July, a fourth consecutive month, Maimaine noted that the government pockets more than a third of the petrol price paid by consumers at the pumps.
“With a 1 percentage point Value Added Tax (VAT) increase, an Income Tax increase, ‘Sin tax’ increase, sugar tax increase and an increase in RAF and General Fuel Levy – a full-blown financial war is being waged against poor, working and middle-class South Africans by the ANC,” said the DA lead.
“South Africans are getting poorer, to pay for the ANC’s mismanagement of our country and its economy.”
Following several steep increases, petrol now stands at over R16 per litre, with 33% – or R5.30 per litre – going straight to government via taxes and levies.”This is both unfair and unsustainable,” Maimane said.
The DA leader said he had written to president Ramaphosa, “setting out immediate solutions to alleviate the stranglehold this government has placed on ordinary South Africans – particularly the poor and jobless”.
Among other solutions, the DA proposed reducing the RAF and general fuel levies by 20% which will enable the price of petrol to be pushed down to below R15 per litre and provide immediate relief.
Maimane pointed out that the minister of finance is empowered to introduce an ‘Adjusted Budget’ at anytime of the year. “There is absolutely nothing in law stopping the minister from doing this immediately,” said Maimane.
“To blame the ever increasing cost of petrol on ‘international markets’ is a spineless analysis of the problem. The fact that one third of the petrol price or R5.30 is tax which is pushed straight into government coffers simply has to change.”
President Ramaphosa announced late last week that the government will announce a package of economic measures to cushion the public from the effects of high fuel price hikes and the recent VAT increase.
Ramaphosa said a panel made up of various stakeholders from the economic cluster has been tasked with drafting the package.
“We will be announcing a package of measures to ease the burden of the price increase, this would include the finalisation of the VAT exempt products.
“I will ask the ministers in the economic cluster to finalise the package in a matter of two weeks,” he said.
Part of Ramaphosa’s solution is reportedly to ask fuel retailers and retailers all along the value chain to absorb the costs rather than push it on to consumers.
This is the price of petrol in July:
|Fuel||June official||July official|
|0.05% Diesel (wholesale)||R14.19||R14.45|