DURBAN - The action group People Against Poverty and Injustice (Papi) are pumped up and ready to take to the streets over rampant fuel increases.
The group wants government to lower fuel prices.
Visvin Reddy, who is the organisation's national convener, announced that Papi planned to bring the country to a standstill with their planned mass action on August 13.
Nationalising Sasol, reducing the petrol price of fuel to below R10 and as well as setting the price of fuel supplied to taxis and busses to around R5 were some of Papi's top demands.
“Our people are fed up. They want to become militant. Protesting is our last resort but it has become necessary because the price presently (approximately R16/litre), after a spate of recent increases, is the highest ever,” said Reddy.
Wednesday’s one cent increase was the latest fuel price hike.
Reddy said Papi would get government’s attention if they went ahead with their protest action in every city around the country, on August 13.
Papi’s executives already had representation from religious leaders, the Black First Land First (BLF), National People’s Ambassadors and amabutho (traditional leaders).
“Various religious leaders and political parties have been in talks with us about supporting our cause and we are also engaging with Cosatu. It is very likely they would also join our protest action,” said Reddy.
He said Papi’s biggest fear was that the petrol price could soar to R20/litre before the end of the year.
“We’ve heard from experts that Brent crude oil prices are expected to rise and economists have also told us that the Rand is expected to lose further value over the rest of the year,’ said Reddy.
The price of oil and the strength of the Rand was what government used to set fuel prices. Reddy said that shouldn’t be the case because we are a fuel producing nation.
“It costs Sasol R2,71 to produce a litre of fuel and it is not affected by the price of Brent crude oil or the rand’s value. Besides we have plenty of coal reserves. Sasol is over-producing petrol and it is being sold to other African countries at less than R10/litre. We are calling on government to nationalise Sasol and produce more fuel. In that way we can pay around R8 at the pumps," he said.
Thobani Zikalala, the BLF’s spokesperson in KZN, called for the price of fuel supplied to buses and taxis to be set around R5/litre.
“That’s because people who use buses and taxis are the ones who are most affected by fuel hikes in the country. We must increase corporate taxes to offset the adjusted prices,” Zikalala suggested.
Reddy said Papi was presently in talks with government over fuel prices, therefore, "President Cyril Ramaphosa must declare a moratorium on fuel prices until we resolve our issues.”