Cosatu added its voice to the masses calling for an end to the increase in the price of petrol. The protest took place at the Mariannhill Toll Plaza, west of Durban. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is demanding the reduction of the fuel levy and other taxes to assist South Africans who are struggling to feed and clothe their families.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said workers are getting deeper and deeper into debt because of the high cost of living

“Small businesses are also struggling and as they get deeper into debt, they shut down and in the process jobs are lost,” said Pamla.

Two weeks ago COSATU and People Against Petrol and Paraffin Price Increases (Papppi) blocked the N3 freeway and demanded an end to escalating fuel prices.

Pamla said this is an ongoing campaign and the decision was made to first mobilise provinces.

“After KZN , Mpumalanga will be next to organise a campaign against fuel hikes,” he said.

He said the aim is to mobilise South Africans in all corners of the country.

“We need to keep the momentum ongoing until we exert enough pressure to the powers that be,” said Pamla.

Visvin Reddy, the national convener of PAPPPI said if we want to make a serious dent and bring the fuel prices down we need to voice our concerns as citizens.

“We need to express our dissatisfaction and not shy away from the fact the the government is responsible for these exorbitant prices we pay for fuel,” said Reddy.

Reddy said the solution to the problem is to remove remove all levies and taxes on fuel.

“Remove fuel taxes and levies immediately which will reduce fuel prices per litre by R5.30,” said Reddy.

He said the government can recoup the lost in taxes and levies by imposing a wealth or windfall tax on the top 25 companies listed on the JSE.

“Next week we are going to be protesting outside the JSE in Durban and Johannesburg to expose the excessive profits made by the top 25 companies,” Reddy said.

Reddy said PAPPPI is calling on COSATU, political parties and other unions to join the protest.

COSATU is also demanding the following interventions:

  • Clean up the corruption, wasteful expenditure and looting of the RAF by lawyers;
  • Invest and expand public transport;
  • Ensure the safety of public transport (trains, taxis and buses);
  • Ensure the reliability of Metro Rail;
  • Reinstate a dedicated full time rail way police under SAPS;
  • Deal with criminal syndicates vandilising Metro Rail;
  • Deal with lawlessness in the taxi industry;
  • Ensure the taxi industry is properly subsidised and supported by the state; and
  • Invest in producing electric buses, cars and bikes locally to reduce our dependence upon a volatile and expensive oil industry.

The Mercury