The DA will introduce legislation to protect South African consumers against ever-increasing fuel prices. With Finance Minister Enoch Gondongwana’s temporary tax relief of R1.50 set to expire at the end of the month, South Africans might have to pay an increase of more than R3 per litre for fuel and as much as R25 per litre of fuel from the beginning of June.
While the DA is grateful for Minister Gondongwana’s temporary relief, the lapsing of the tax break and subsequent hefty increase will have a massive impact on the cost of living, hitting the poorest of the poor the hardest.
Not only will transport prices increase, but food and other basic necessities will also become more expensive yet again. And these prices do not ebb and flow like the fuel price. South Africans are already struggling to make ends meet and unemployment is soaring.
We urge the Finance Minister to continue with this tax relief, and to fast track and prioritise the review of the fuel pricing model.
In the meantime, the DA is planning to introduce a Private Members Bill (PMB) to codify, through legislation, the deregulation of the fuel price to encourage competition between wholesalers and retailers. The PMB will seek to protect the consumer from exorbitant price increases by decoupling the basic fuel price from government taxes and levies and additional margins used by wholesalers and retailers.
We appreciate Treasury’s support of a deregulated fuel price, and urge Minister Gondongwana to engage with the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, who has been standing in the way of protecting the public in this manner. The ANC government cannot continue to put ideology above the well-being of South Africans. Perpetually increasing fuel prices will stifle economic recovery and break consumers’ backs.