File photo: Neil Baynes

The relief that motorists have felt at the pumps in recent months is set to be short-lived as fuel price increases loom for the next two months and e-tolls look set to stay.

During Wednesday's Budget speech, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announced that from April 1, motorists will have to pay an extra 80.5 cents a litre in fuel taxes.

That total is made up by a 30.5 c/l increase in the general fuel levy and a 50 c/l rise in the Road Accident Fund (RAF) levy. This represents a whopping 48 percent increase in the RAF's levy funding as the embattled compensation scheme struggles to cope with a backlog of claims for accident victims. What this means is that for every litre of fuel you put in your car, R1.54 will go to the RAF.

MARCH INCREASE

Yet the fuel price pinch is set to begin from as early as next week as data from the Central Energy Fund indicates that the fuel price could increase by around 90 cents a litre in March, due to higher international oil prices and the weak rand.

On top of this double-blow, which could wipe away a large chunk of the inflation relief South Africans have been enjoying in recent times, it also appears as though Gauteng e-tolling is here to stay, albeit at a lower cost to motorists.

During his State of the Province address on Monday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said his government was consulting with the Deputy President “to develop a better dispensation which will mitigate the negative impact of the e-tolls on the people of Gauteng, especially the middle- and lower-income groups.”

Yet opposition parties have taken Makhura to task for not recommending the scrapping the e-tolling system altogether. “The people of this province have on numerous occasions and on numerous platforms said that e-tolls must go,” DA MPL John Moodey exclaimed. Meanwhile, the EFF's Mandisa Mashego said Makhura had painted a “suspiciously rosy picture” that was full of plans but with no sign of action.

Sources: Sapa & The Star