Taxi association says fuel price hike is killing business
Persistent fuel price increases will push more people into poverty, say the EFF, Cosatu and a taxi association
Persistent fuel price increases will push more people into poverty, according to the EFF, Cosatu and a taxi association, which were reacting to the February 1 price hike.
From Wednesday, petrol prices increased by 28c/l, diesel with 0.05% sulphur went up by 9c/l, paraffin by 58.00c/l ,while diesel with 0.005% sulphur decreased by 0.84 c/l.
Mpho Mukhari from Mamelodi Local & Long Distance Taxi Association (MALLDTA) told TimesLIVE that fuel price hikes were devastating.
“The hike of petrol and diesel is killing the business. The drivers are working for fuel, they spend from R4,000-R5,000 a week for fuel. The sad part is that they are not even making that money,” Mukhari said.
He said coping with the increase was hard on the industry, which was still recovering from the effects of the strict Covid-19 lockdown.
“Things are better now but taxi owners and drivers still get their cars repossessed by banks because they cannot keep up with the expenses.
“The average bank instalment for the taxis is R13,500-R16,500. More than 10 taxis a month get repossessed because of rising expenses.”
Mukhari said some taxi owners fired their drivers for not bringing in enough money.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the increases are bad news for all South Africans, but are even worse for poor families.
“Poor households are already struggling to survive under these difficult conditions and an increase in the price of paraffin will leave many worse off,” Pamla said.
He said many people were drowning in debt and the fuel increase on top of the recent electricity price hike, and rising food prices and interest rates would make it even harder for workers to support their families.
“It will push thousands of workers to default on their loans and risk losing their homes, cars and other possessions. This will also threaten the sustainability of thousands of SMMEs [small, medium-sized and micro enterprises] and place their employees in danger of losing their meagre wages and being retrenched.”
Pamla appealed to the government to provide relief to commuters and the economy by lowering fuel taxes.
The EFF said the rise in fuel prices would push many people into poverty, adding that “many workers will not be able to travel to work as they will not be able to afford transportation”.
“The EFF calls for an immediate halt on any form of increase until there is a substantive review of the fuel levy.”
February’s increase comes after motorists were granted relief in January.
The department of mineral resources & energy dropped fuel prices after what it described as “steep increases” for November and December 2022.