Did you know that R1.93 of every litre of petrol you buy is going to the wasteful RAF? South Africans are getting angry, and its about time…
South Africans have been left absolutely seething after learning that the petrol price would increase yet again. For the fourth consecutive month. We’ve barely had time to steady ourselves after the last gigantic price hike.
Due to the Rand’s dismal performance against the US Dollar, the upcoming increase will push the price up to R16 a litre. A record high – due to take effect this week.
According to the Department of Energy, we’ll see 93 and 95 octane go up by 23 and 26 cents, respectively. The price of diesel will increase with 24 to 26 cents per litre, while illuminating paraffin goes up with 22 to 30 cents.
The petrol price has now become a cause for concern – an opinion widely shared by the Automobile Association. In only ten years, the fuel levy has shot up from R1.27 to R3.37. Back in 2008, the price of inland and coastal fuel stood at R6.92 and R7.16 per litre, respectively. Now, inland fuel has shot up to R15.53 per litre and coastal at R16.02.
According to the Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe, if it wasn’t for a decline in crude oil prices – the petrol increase would have been 20 cents more.
Now… It’s starting to hurt.
When the price of petrol goes up, so does the price of many other things, such as food or taxi fare. So, not only does our petrol budget take a massive blow, but our grocery budget does too. We can now afford less petrol and less food than we could last month, with the poorer communities being hit the hardest.
We’ve seen snow in parts of the country this week. The cold gets into your bones – and the poorer communities can no longer afford the paraffin necessary to heat their homes.
We’ve already seen Uber and Taxify drivers take a stand by striking all over the country. The price of petrol rises and rises, yet the drivers’ fees remain the same. Likewise, motorists have been threatening to shut down the highways until the price of petrol has been reduced.
This may seem excessive. After all, we all know that there is a direct correlation between a country’s fuel price and the standard of living experienced by the citizens. Venezuelans, for example, may be paying 12 cents a litre, but the country is in constant turmoil.
However, as it will soon be made apparent, South African motorists have a very good reason to be angry.
We know that we’re not the only country that will feel the pinch. The trade war between the USA and China has the market stressed, and this has an effect on the global economy.
Right now, a litre of petrol in Madagascar costs R32.45, thanks to massive political instability. Iceland pays R29.55. Hong Kong R28.79. Norway R27.75. The Netherlands R26.66. Our neighbours in Zimbabwe are paying R19.92.
While most South African citizens fully understand the fact that international relations have an influence on our petrol price, it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.
What really forces the blade in is the knowledge that a good chunk of the petrol price goes toward the Road Accident Fund. For every litre you buy, R1.93 goes to the RAF. The Road Accident Fund, however, has been financially crippled for a long time due to reckless squandering of funds. The organisation is reportedly almost R190 billion in the red.
More infuriating was the revelation, as reported by the Sunday Times, that the RAF is renting ordinary office chairs at R1 666 per month. Each.
This reckless, Zuma-like spending has an impact on the petrol price, and the consumer is held accountable for the government’s shortcomings.
The government has successfully failed to adequately subsidize petrol or food over the years. No real effort has been made to ensure that these increases won’t have such a detrimental effect on the people.
One solution would be to reduce the tax on fuel, which would certainly help everybody.
We can dream. And in the meanwhile, we’re taxed into poverty and madness.
The AA has cautioned against yet another price hike to hit us in August. Which is next month.