Fuel price hike protest futile, says economist

By Anelisa Kubheka Time of article published Jul 2, 2018

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Durban - The fuel price hike on Wednesday is unavoidable, and handing over a memorandum to President Cyril Ramaphosa, raising concerns over the hike, is a futile exercise.

This is according to Durban businessman and economist Bonke Dumisa, who explained that the government had no control over the increase in fuel prices as it had no control over the rand’s performance versus the dollar.

Monday marks the beginning of the #fuelpricesmustfall campaign being championed by People Against Petrol and Paraffin Price Increases (Pappi).

Read: WATCH: Reddy calls for community action against fuel price hikes

The organisation plans to get its list of demands regarding the fuel hike to Ramaphosa.

The price of 93-octane petrol - both unleaded (ULP) and lead replacement (LRP) - will go up by 26c/litre and 95-octane (ULP andLRP) by 23c/litre.

Diesel 0.05% sulphur will rise by 26c/litre and diesel 0.005% sulphur by 24c/litre. The wholesale price of illuminating paraffin will rise by 22c/litre and the single maximum national retail price (SMNRP) by 30c/litre. The maximum retail price for LP gas will increase by 37c/kg.

“Thirty-eight to forty percent of money paid for fuel is for taxes and fuel levies, and R1.93 goes towards the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

“Then there is the rand’s performance against the dollar and the price of Brent crude oil, which we buy in dollars,” said Dumisa.

“Some of the money goes to Sanral for road maintenance, and this is how South Africa is able to boast newly built interchanges like the one in uMhlanga.

“Petrol costs more in South Africa because of this; R9 goes to paying for the actual petrol while R6 goes towards levies.

“Neighbouring countries like Lesotho and Swaziland have cheaper petrol because they buy it in rands from South Africa.”

Dumisa said it was not possible to expect to pay any less for petrol even though funds for the RAF were highly abused, with lawyers making a lot of money from it .

Pappi convener Visvin Reddy said they believed the price of Brent crude oil did not affect the petrol price, adding that the government regulated the prices of fuels.

He said that while they understood that a portion of the money used to buy petrol went towards levies, they didn’t agree with the RAF getting a percentage of this money as well.

Reddy said the mass protest action would begin with a planned placard demonstration expected to take place between 7am and 8am at various intersections in Durban.

“We are also urging all South Africans to wear black, as we dub the day ‘Black Monday’ to show that they are standing in solidarity with all of us. We are gatvol of these increases.”

The organisation has given Ramaphosa a week to respond.

The Mercury

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