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Paltry petrol price decrease means nothing for consumers, say activists

Petrol price is set to drop on Wednesday by between 68 and 71 cents a litre, with diesel down by between 67.8 and 69.8 cents a litre.

Petrol price is set to drop on Wednesday by between 68 and 71 cents a litre, with diesel down by between 67.8 and 69.8 cents a litre.

Published Jan 5, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - A slight petrol price decrease will have little to no positive effect on middle class and unemployed citizens, civil society activists say.

This as Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe announced petrol was set to drop on Wednesday by between 68 and 71 cents a litre, with diesel down by between 67.8 and 69.8 cents a litre.

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According to the AA, from January to December last year, ULP95 petrol increased by R5.87 a litre, while ULP93 petrol increased by R5.89 a litre over the same period, “crashing through” the R20/l barrier for the first time in history to reach R20.13 for a litre of 93ULP and R20.35 for 95ULP.

STOP City of Cape Town’s Sandra Dickson said the 71cent decrease meant very little to the pocket of average South Africans who were “miserable” with the high costs of living.

“It always goes up by more than it comes down so it doesn’t make a big difference for the average person.

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“The government needs to prove what the fuel levies are really being used for.

“It is a good cash cow but where is the money going?” asked Dickson.

“People are absolutely miserable because people will be indebted more and more, with high electricity and petrol prices.

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“The middle class is squeezed more and more.

“Our government has forgotten about taxpayers.

“They seem not to feature anywhere in what they do.

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“Everything is just getting more expensive.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Khokhoma Motsi from Assembly of the Unemployed (AoU) who said a small reduction in petrol prices meant nothing for the poor against rising taxi and food prices.

“Everything that is being done by the government does not assist us as the unemployed in reality.

“Even if you take petrol down, the economy can’t just rise because of reduced petrol prices.

“Only two to three months then petrol prices will rise for more than they have reduced it.

“When taxis are R24 they won’t go down to R12 or R10, millie meal is R78 for a 10kg, it won’t be reduced, so it doesn’t mean everything is going to change for us,” said Motsi.

He said their plight needed more than a petrol reduction and they called for a basic income grant.

“We need a real total change in the system currently implemented by the government.

“Our demand is a basic income grant for the unemployed aged 18 to 59.

“They are currently receiving a R350 which is nothing, you can’t even buy 30 loaves of bread per month with that.

“Our demand is R1 500 that will generate the economy because there will be demand for products and services.”

The AA added that the current high fuel prices “must be a driving force” for a review of the fuel price structure, as well as an audit of the existing prices within that structure.

“We welcome his (Mantashe’s) pre-Christmas comments that the fuel price structure needs a critical re-look, and we call on him to make quick work of this issue ahead of his 2022 Budget Speech in February.

“Apart from not increasing the existing levies on fuel at all during that speech, we would also like to see an announcement on concrete plans to review the fuel price before the end of the second quarter,” the AA said.

Cape Times

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