Isn’t it amazing how fuel price increases are seen as a major victory and celebrated by many. In the past 10 years SA’s fuel prices have been on a steady rise, with taxes and levies increasing by more than 400%. The government found an easy way to fill up state coffers by raising taxes on fuel.
Every month the Central Energy Fund considers factors like the price of crude oil and the value of the rand against the dollar and announces the fuel prices. Fuel taxes are the fourth-highest income contributor for the state. This year petrol prices reached a high of R16/l.
On September 5, the petrol price was expected to increase by close to 30c/l. People rallied behind the call by national lobby group People Against Petrol and Paraffin Price Increases. Had it not been for them, the government would have issued a routine statement and petrol prices would have once again soared.
We now have an increase of 5c/l of petrol. Economists, commentators and the media are hailing the decision by the government to postpone the increases as a "welcome intervention". But this is a case of too little, too late. The cost of the delay in announcing the increase is expected to be R500m and will be recovered from another government department. This could have been avoided had our fuel reserves not been stolen.
South Africans are paying exorbitant prices for fuel because of poor management, corruption and incompetence on the part of elected leaders.