Taxi operators say they will have no choice but to pass on the increased price of fuel to commuters in the form of higher fares. Picture: ANA

Johannesburg - The Automobile Association says South African motorists are paying more for fuel than those in neighbouring countries because of added taxes that see us paying an extra R5.30 for every litre of fuel we buy.

The AA’s Layton Beard said neighbouring countries are paying less for fuel because they don't have those indirect taxes.

“The primary reason why fuel in neighbouring countries is cheaper,” he said, “is because they do not have the amount of indirect taxes on their fuel that South Africa does. So when you look at the R16 a litre we're paying for unleaded 95 inland, more than R5 is going toward indirect taxes."

The price of petrol increased by 26 cents a litre on Wednesday and took the fuel price to the R16 mark. Petrol was already at an all-time high after June's increase of 82 cents a litre. Beard said the AA found the fuel increases to be “very steep” especially on top of increases June and earlier in 2018.

“We’re concerned about the impact these increases are going to have on consumers,” he said.

Call for urgent debate in parliament

The IFP has since written to finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and Energy Minister Jeff Radebe to request the suspension of the General Fuel and Road Accident levies on the petrol price. The party has also written to parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete to schedule an urgent debate on the increasing fuel price, as a matter of national public importance.

IFP spokesman on finance Mkhululeko Hlengwa said his party was fully aware of the global fuel crisis, however “when in crisis our country requires leadership to take strong and measured action”. He called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to “walk his talk” - to cut his cabinet, take strong action against corruption and looting of the public purse, and declare austerity measures for all government departments, "to make up the cost shortfall on the fuel levies”.

Bearing the brunt 

“South Africans cannot continue to suffer without relief from undue poverty,” he said, “while government has increased VAT, rates and taxes across metros and councils in the country - and now commuters wouldn’t be able to get to work nor are motorists able to fill up their tanks.

“The president, together with Ministers of finance, energy, trade and industry, transport and economic development must table a relief package before Parliament and an action plan to mitigate the deleterious effects the continual fuel price increases have on the poorest of the poor,” Hlengwa said.

The prevailing fuel-price hikes would not only affect the South African economy at large, he added, but also the welfare of ordinary South African citizens “who will once again bear the final brunt of the increase of costs to business, who will simply pass such costs increases onto the consumer”.

“This debate is most necessary at this juncture as I believe alternative means can be found by government to subsidise this increase in costs.”

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