DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: ALON SKUY​
DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: ALON SKUY​

The DA would request National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete for a debate in Parliament on the tax and levy structure of fuel in the country, party leader Mmusi Maimane said on Wednesday.

Petrol prices in SA hit a record high of R15.79 a litre at midnight on Tuesday.

The price of fuel has risen about 5.5% so far in June, putting further pressure on hard-pressed consumers.

It was reported last week that a 4.4% depreciation of the rand against the dollar during the period under review was the primary reason for the price hike, which came after hefty increases in April and May.

Maimane went to the Noord Street taxi rank in downtown Johannesburg on Wednesday morning to engage with commuters and taxi drivers on how to mitigate the negative effects of the increase.

"The DA will therefore be writing to the speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to request for a debate of national importance in Parliament about the tax and levy structure of fuel in the country because we simply cannot tax our way to prosperity," Maimane told journalists.

The DA leader said that in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office the ANC had declared "financial war on ordinary South Africans".

"Through increases in VAT, income tax, the RAF [Road Accident Fund] levy, the general fuel levy and so-called sin taxes, the South African public has been strong-armed into paying for the sins of the ANC government. This is not the change we hoped for," Maimane said.

Maimane said that when Ramaphosa was elected president of SA the price of petrol was R13.76 a litre and now it was R15.79.

"After just over 100 days of a Ramaphosa presidency, it costs approximately R100 more to fill the tank of an average-sized car. South Africans are angry, and rightly so," Maimane said.

Taxi fares

He said the fuel price hike would directly affect the poor and the working class through an increase in taxi fares.

Maimane said that when the price of fuel rose 67c a litre in September 2017, the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) said the increase per journey was as much as R5, depending on the distance travelled and the region.

"There will no doubt be an even heftier increase this time around, affecting the more than 50% of South African households that are dependent on taxis for transport," he said.

"Even when using the conservative R5 estimate by Santaco, for a person taking two taxi journeys a day, that’s an additional R300 per month just on taxi fares.

"This is crippling to the livelihoods of poor and working-class South Africans," said the party leader.