Pretoria - The Democratic Alliance, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, and taxi and transport associations have joined forces to call for mass civil action against the high price of fuel.

They’re calling for NGOs, political parties, religious bodies, taxi associations, civil society organisations, and ordinary South Africans to join a mass protest all outside the offices of the National Treasury in Tshwane on Tuesday 31 July at 10am, calling for a reduction in fuel levies.

On top of a one percent rise in VAT to 15 percent, increased income tax and higher taxes on tobacco, alcohol and sugar, they say, ordinary South Africans have been hit with no less than four fuel price increases in four consecutive months - April, May, June and July – with another increase set for August.

“In March petrol cost R14.12 a litre; it’s now over R16,” said DA leader Mmusi Maimane. “And every cent of that is absorbed by ordinary South Africans, either directly through increased transport costs, or indirectly by the resulting rising food prices.”

'This is simply not sustainable'

”Something has to give,' he insisted. “Poor South Africans are already stretched to breaking point by a stagnant economy and spiralling unemployment, and there is no sign of this improving any time soon.”

Maimane, Outa, the taxi associations and transport organisations say not all of the huge increase in fuel prices can be blamed on ‘international markets’ as R5.30 a litre (33 percent) of our fuel price is made up of the general fuel levy and the Road Accident Fund levy.

'Under R15 a litre'

The mass protest will call for the immediate reduction of the Road Accident Fund and general fuel levies by R1 a litre each - which will bring the price of petrol below R15 a litre - as well as an urgent debate in parliament on restructuring both the Road Accident Fund and general fuel levies to help limit further fuel price increases.

They’re also calling for the Road Accident Fund to be placed under independent, external administration to tackle corruption, install competent leadership, and address its R160 billion backlog in unpaid claims.

“We cannot afford to delay these interventions,” Maimane said. “People are already struggling to survive, and it will only get worse unless we bring the petrol price immediately below R15 a litre.”

IOL Motoring