Pretoria - When you wake up on Wednesday, the price of fuel in South Africa will be at an all-time high.
And as is usually the case, motorists are expected to queue at service stations later on Tuesday to fill up ahead of the midnight increase, which will see a litre of petrol rising above R16.
From midnight, you will need an extra 26c for each litre of 95 octane petrol, and 23c per litre for 93 octane petrol. Diesel will also increase by 26c (0.05% sulphur) and 24c (0.005% sulphur).
But according to the South African Automobile Association (AA), the increases could be avoided if the government reconsidered the amount of tax placed on the fuel price.
AA spokesperson Layton Beard warned that another fuel price increase was expected between July and August, and there could still be more later in the year.
“It would be ideal for the South African government to reconsider the R1.93 levy motorists pay towards the Road Accident Fund per litre and the R3.37 levy paid per litre to the general fuel levy. We are paying too much for petrol and it could still get worse.”
Beard said the levy paid to the general fuel levy amounted to billions that were managed and used by the National Treasury, and the usage of which was not limited to roads and traffic management, but other government responsibilities as well.
“I think the biggest problem with petrol hikes is not so much the frequency of these increases, but the sizes of the increases. “In some years you could have more increases than others, but when one or more increases are high, you’re going to have problems.”
The latest fuel increase has been blamed on international markets and the depreciation of the rand against the dollar, as well as a decrease in the prices of crude oil and import prices of petroleum products.
Meanwhile, Durban motorists on Monday joined the People Against Petrol and Paraffin Increases (Pappi) in protesting against the hikes by stopping their cars on the side of roads for at least 10 minutes.
The public transport industry said it has also been severely hit by the fuel increases.
In the city, Bonny Ndjishe of the Mamelodi Amalgamated Taxi Association said they were not making profits anymore.
He said it was a pity the government did not subsidise the taxi industry despite the fact that it transported almost 70% of the country’s workforce. “We will not increase the taxi fares just because the price of petrol increased, although the increase does reduce the money drivers are left with after filling up with petrol per trip.
“Our commuters complain when we increase the fares, so we normally increase them after consulting industry structures. Our biggest challenge is that petrol increases mean a hike in the price of car parts. Some taxi operators find themselves not being able to afford to replace parts, and that can put them out of business.”
The director of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa, Nico Vermeulen, said the organisation did not expect the hike to negatively affect them. “Prices of fuel go up and down depending on movements in prices of oil and the exchange rate. This increases consumer awareness about fuel consumption and fuel efficiency. That will affect purchasing decisions at the time of vehicle replacement or new vehicle purchases,” he said.
Some took to social media to highlight that South Africans could soon find themselves paying more than R20 a litre like their counterparts in countries such as Iceland (R27) and Norway (R25.72).