An organisation formed to combat increases in petrol and paraffin prices has sent a list of demands to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
People Against Petrol and Paraffin Price Increases (Papppi) has requested a meeting with the head of state before its attempt at a national shutdown on Friday.
Consumers are reeling following an increase in VAT and steep petrol hikes, with knock-on effects being felt in every sector. Motorists are currently paying R15.43 a litre in coastal areas and R16.02 inland.
Another fuel hike is set for August.
South Africans have experienced increases in all fuel types since January 2018. Petrol has increased by as much as R1.60 (inland) and R1.50 (coastal); diesel has spiked by R1.73 and paraffin is up by as much as R1.12 (inland) and R1.09 (coastal).
Pappi’s national convener, Durban-based businessman Visvin Reddy, told African News Agency (ANA) on Tuesday that the letter was sent to the Ramaphosa on Monday and receipt had been acknowledged.
“The latest decision to increase fuel prices lacks sensitivity and ignores the fact that more than 55 % of South Africans live below the poverty line (STATSA). A further 14 million live in abject poverty,” claimed Reddy in the letter.
“The Department of Energy issued a statement on 6 July 2018 announcing the increases and blamed it on the price of crude oil and the Rand/Dollar exchange. Why are we not paying less for SASOL fuels, [that] does not depend on these factors?”
Motorists paid more than 38% in fuel taxes and levies, of which “a large percentage” went to the Road Accident Fund, said Reddy. But the RAF’s own financial statements showed that the fund was in deficit, he said.
Papppi had also “observed” that the price of fuel in neighbouring countries such as Namibia and Swaziland was less than the cost in South Africa, even though South Africa supplied those countries with fuel, said Reddy.
Papppi is demanding that all future fuel price increases be suspended immediately; that a presidential task team be established to determine a new fuel strategy and that a commission of inquiry be established to investigate the illegal sale of the country’s fuel reserves.
The organisation believes fuel prices can be reduced to R8 a litre.
“As part of our ongoing programme of action we have planned a day of national protests, scheduled to take place on Friday 27 April 2018. Our provincial and regional structures are in readiness and the message has been relayed through various media platforms,” said Reddy in his letter to the president.
“Protest action is seen as a final resort as it has the potential to harm the economy and cause injury to individuals and property.”
An urgent meeting was being sought with Ramaphosa before the shutdown in order to reach an “amicable solution”.
The specialist panel created by National Treasury to investigate the possibility of increasing the number of zero-rated VAT items has also recently been tasked with mitigating fuel increases.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, was yet to confirm the president had received Papppi’s letter.