A commuter inspects the revised list of taxi fares north of the city. These prices are going up tomorrow, just as the fuel price increases yet again. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
WHILE various organisations prepared to protest against the fuel price hikes this morning, the Department of Minerals and Energy yesterday announced yet another increase - due to kick in at midnight.

The fuel price for both 95 and 93 octane petrol in Gauteng is expected to increase by 1 cent a litre. There will be some relief for diesel, however, which is expected to decrease by 4 cents a litre.

The department said the wholesale price of illuminating paraffin would increase by 4 cents a litre while the single maximum national retail price of illuminating paraffin will see a 5 cents a litre increase. The maximum retail price of LP Gas will increase by 17 cents a kilogram.

“The average international product prices of petrol and diesel and illuminating paraffin decreased during the period under review. The rand depreciated against the US dollar during the period under review, on average, when compared to the previous period,” the department said.

“The average rand/US dollar exchange rate for the period June 29, 2018, to July 26, 2018, was 13.4713 compared to 13.2871 during the previous period. This led to a higher contribution to the Basic Fuel Prices on petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin by 10.23 c/* , 10.44 c/* and 10.62 c/* respectively.”

The sixth increase this year alone and fourth in as many months has forced taxi operators north of Pretoria to increase fares from tomorrow. Another region said it was still consulting with operators before deciding whether or not to increase fares.

The fare for taxis from the north of the city will increase by R3 and R5 per trip. In the past, taxi fares increased by R1 or R2 maximum.

With the fare increase, the taxi fares from Soshanguve and Mabopane will increase from R22 to R25. In Ga-Rankuwa, the fare will rise from R20 to R25.

Greater Tshwane Regional Taxi Council spokesperson McDonald Makata said the fuel hike and maintenance of the taxis were the main reasons behind the fare increase.

He said they had given it deep thought and decided on the best way for the increase not to affect the poorest of the poor. “We have made an appeal to taxi associations that they do not increase by a lot of money which will be a burden to commuters,” he said.

With regards to the Ga-Rankuwa route, which increased the fare by R5, Makata said talks were continuing as the amount was deemed too much.

Mamelodi Amalgamated Taxi Association secretary Bonny Ndjishe said the area had not yet agreed on an increase, but admitted business was taking a strain. “Business is definitely taking a strain due to the fuel increase, but we don’t want to increase fare prices just yet.”

However, Makata said taxis travelling to town from Mamelodi were driving a shorter distance compared to those from the north side, which travelled 40km outside the city.

In Pretoria, the DA and Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), joined by religious and civil organisations as well as the taxi industry, will picket outside the offices of the National Treasury from 7am demanding a minimum 20% reduction of the general fuel tax levy.

The organisers said they understood the price of fuel was influenced by international markets, which affected the value of the rand and oil prices. However, they are demanding the reduction of “the burden faced by the country’s citizens, who were already struggling to deal with the 15% VAT”.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane and Outa chief operating officer Ben Theron said if the picket successfully convinced Treasury to review the general fuel levy by 20%, the price of a litre of petrol could return to just under the R15 mark again.

Tshwane Metro Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said: “Buses will drop the picketers off at Bosman and WF Nkomo streets from 9am to 9.30am. The picket will commence at 10am and they are expected to finish at 2pm. We will monitor the picket.”

Mahamba said streets around Church Square - Bosman, WF Nkomo, Paul Kruger and Madiba - would be negatively affected. He urged motorists to use other routes.

Another protest had been planned for Friday by People Against Petrol and Paraffin Increase, but was cancelled at the 11th hour.

Convener Visvin Reddy said this was after the organisation had been invited to a meeting by the Presidency. “The delegation was impressed with our proposal, but suggested we meet and brief ministers in the economic cluster. We have given them until Sunday to arrange the meeting for us. Should this not happen, we’ll go back to the drawing board and plan mass action.”