By Dr Dion George MP, DA Shadow Minister of Finance, and Kevin Mileham MP, DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
Government has dealt another damaging blow to our economy with the fuel price set to increase by a whopping R1.27 in March 2023.
By refusing to cut fuel levies, the ANC government has failed to respond to the cost-of-living crisis and protect South Africans from this devastating fuel price increase that drives up the cost of food and transport. More and more families are unable to put enough food on the table due to the government’s greed and lack of empathy.
This is yet another indication that the current administration is more interested in extracting wealth from its citizens than alleviating their struggles.
Fuel is a critical component of our motorized economy and an essential lifeline for the people of South Africa. The DA has taken a stand against this exorbitant taxation imposed by the government, which is hurting low-income and vulnerable groups the most.
Under the ANC government, the fuel levy has increased by a staggering 225%, the basic fuel price by 119%, and the Road Accident Fund levy by a whopping 425% since 2008. These hikes have made it increasingly difficult for South Africans to make ends meet and access the basic necessities of transportation and food.
Meanwhile, the privileged ANC cabinet ministers are exempt from these economic hardships, enjoying their taxpayer-funded perks and privileges.
The increase will drive up food prices, already under pressure with food manufacturers and retailers already spending millions of rand more on fuel, not only for transporting goods, but also to keep generators going in the midst of the government-induced energy crisis.
The DA remains committed to alleviating the burden on South African families and have proposed a review of the current fuel pricing model.
Government must cut the fuel levies and find alternative ways to fund its initiatives, such as by cutting back on wasteful and unnecessary expenditure.
The recent national budget was a missed opportunity to provide such relief to struggling households. Instead, Minister of Finance Godongwana again bailed out failing state-owned enterprises at the expense of the people.
In our 2023 Alternative Budget, we have outlined a comprehensive plan to cut wasteful expenditure and grow the economy through implementing the DA’s economic policy framework, which focuses on creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, promoting job creation, and supporting small businesses.
By doing so, we can make up for the revenue lost by cutting fuel levies. We reject the notion that already overtaxed South Africans must carry this burden.
The DA remains steadfast in our commitment to the well-being of all South Africans, and we will not rest until the government takes action to alleviate the financial strain caused by the rising fuel prices.