“Technical team” on high fuel prices misses deadline by almost 100 days and counting

Issued by Mmusi Maimane – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
25 Oct 2018 in News

On 5 July this year President Ramaphosa set up another “technical team” tasked with finding solutions to the persistent petrol price hikes that have hurt the pockets of South Africans since the beginning of the year. Over the past ten months, the price of petrol has increased seven times.

While this “technical team” was given two weeks to present solutions to mitigate these fuel increases, the Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe, has confirmed to the DA that no significant progress has been made – with an “initial report” still more than a month away.

The Minister said that “The initial report was expected at the end of September 2018, however, more work is still required before the report is finalised. It is anticipated that the work would be completed by the end of November 2018.”

This “technical team” has missed its deadline by almost 100 days and counting. While this failing ANC government dithers, South Africans are financially suffocating. To make matters worse, there was no relief announced in yesterday’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) for consumers – with fuel taxes set to increase each year over the medium term.

These fuel price increases are not only the result of international markets and global trends – as the ANC government claims – but are also in large part due to the weakening rand that is directly related to the mismanagement of the economy by the ANC government. Approximately one third – or R5.30 – of the cost of petrol per litre goes directly to government via the General Fuel Levy and the Road Accident Fund Levy.

The DA’s solution to this is straightforward: cut the fuel taxes by at least R1 in the short term with a view to review these levies on an ongoing basis; stop bailing out the bankrupt Road Accident Fund and ensure it runs efficiently; cut the bloated Cabinet; reject the proposed fuel levy increases in yesterday’s MTBPS; and tighten government’s belt to halt wasteful spending. In the long term, with prudent economic policy direction and sound fiscal discipline, a strengthening rand will aid the decrease in fuel costs.

The lax approach to providing any respite to ordinary South Africans appears to be the approach of this ANC government under Cyril Ramaphosa. Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni’s MTBPS yesterday delivered no hope for the poor and jobless. When it comes to the cost of living for ordinary South Africans, Mboweni decided to:

  • Commit more precious public money to bailing out bankrupt SOEs such as SAA and Eskom, instead of selling them off;
  • Cut funds to basic services – including health and education;
  • Reaffirm the continuation of E-tolls for Gauteng residents; and
  • Increase the fuel levy on already sky-high fuel prices;

With corruption and waste by ANC national departments and SOEs totalling over R100 billion, South Africa is being taxed to death to pay for the failing ANC governments repetitive sins. We cannot continue along this path any longer.

It is time for the change that creates One South Africa For All, where public money is spend on creating jobs and delivering basic services to all.