How much drivers tip petrol attendants in South Africa

 ·24 Sep 2021

The tipping culture in South Africa reaches almost every facet of our services industry, with Telkom and Engen recently launching a new feature designed for tipping petrol attendants and Quickshop cashiers at Engen service stations.

Engen petrol pump attendants and Quickshop cashiers will be assigned a lanyard with a QR code and number. They will be required to register for a Telkom Pay Wallet using WhatsApp and link their profile to their QR codes.

But while many don’t mind giving the ‘standard’ 10% to their waiter at a restaurant, or a spare R2 or R5 to their local car guard, it would seem petrol attendants get the short-end of the stick.

A recent poll conducted by BusinessTech, which drew over 7,300 responses from readers, shows South Africans are a little bit more stingy when it comes to service people at the pumps.

When asked how much money motorists usually tip the petrol attendant when they visit a service station, the most significant proportion of respondents (36%) said they don’t give anything at all.

Close behind the non-tippers are those who give R5 (30%), followed by those who give R10 (19%) and R2 (7%). Few South African motorists are very generous, with only 8% saying they give R20 or more.

Petrol pain

Much like other service industries, petrol attendants supplement their wages through tips. They earn these on the goodwill of motorists visiting the stations after performing many ‘complimentary’ services, such as washing windows, checking oil, and inflating tyres.

Minimum wage data from 1 September shows that attendants earn around R36.10 per hour or R1,624.50 per week.

With rising petrol prices and a recession putting pressure on households, the above data may not come as much of a surprise as South Africa currently face record-high petrol prices in September.

And last month, minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe approved a retail margin increase of 5.7 cents per litre to be effected in the retail price structures of all octane grades of petrol in September. He said this increase was necessary to accommodate the wage increases of pump attendants, cashiers, and administrative staff at service stations.

Mid-month data from the Central Energy Fund (CEF) shows that fuel prices could decline in October, bringing welcome relief for motorists.

The data made available by the CEF showed an over-recovery in both petrol and diesel prices, pointing to a possible drop of between 18 and 21 cents per litre for petrol and around 9 cents per litre for diesel.

However, the Automobile Association (AA) warned that rising oil prices and a weakening rand could flip this around before month-end.

Read: Here is the expected petrol price for October.

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