Commuters dig deep after fare increase

Fuel price for petrol, both 95 and 93, in Gauteng is expected to increase by one cent a litre, while diesel expected to decrease by four cents a litre, the energy department said earlier on Monday.
The department further said the wholesale price of illuminating paraffin will increase by four cents a litre while the single maximum national retail price of illuminating paraffin will see a five cents a litre increase; and the maximum retail price of LP Gas will increase by 17 cents per kilogram.
“The average international product prices of petrol and diesel and illuminating paraffin decreased during the period under review. The Rand depreciated against the US dollar during the period under review, on average, when compared to the previous period,” the department said.
“The average Rand/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 29 June 2018 to 26 July 2018 was 13.4713 compared to 13.2871 during the previous period. This led to a higher contribution to the Basic Fuel Prices on petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin by 10.23 c/l, 10.44 c/l and 10.62 c/l respectively.”
Opposition parties, except the EFF and UDM, converged with the DA and Outa calling on the government to reduce the petrol price by R1a litre. The ACDP, Cope, Freedom Front Plus and Forum 4 Service Delivery also came out in support of the campaign, initially lodged by the DA, Outa, the National Taxi Alliance and Santaco last week.
The opposition parties were unanimous in their call for the reduction of petrol prices.
Maimane said, in the past year alone, “the tax war” on ordinary citizens had made life extremely hard for those who can least afford it.
“VAT has gone up, income tax has gone up, ‘sin taxes’ have gone up, electricity has gone up all this while income and social grants have barely kept up with inflation,” Maimane said.
“But the one increase that has really hit poor people in the pocket has been the fuel price, because this affects the two things they spend the biggest part of their income on: transport and food,” Maimane said.
This year alone there have been four fuel price hikes four months in a row, he said, with a fifth coming into effect today. No doubt, there would be more in the near future, he said.
“Every cent of every increase finds its way into taxi fares, bus fares and the price of food transported on our roads. Poor people, already stretched to breaking point, must simply pay more. And the truth is they just can’t any longer. Thanks to the sharp increases in the cost of fuel, the cost of living is fast becoming unaffordable,” Maimane said.
Taxi commuters too will have to dig deeper into their pockets following the South African National Taxi Association Council (Santaco)’s decision to increase fares.
As of Wednesday morning, taxi commuters had to pay between R1 and R10 more to travel locally.
However, not even long distance travellers will be spared as they will have to pay between R1 and R20 or even more in some areas.
According to Santaco’s Thabisho Molelekwa, the taxi organisation’s highest decision making body – Management Council (MANCO) – had decided at its specially convened meeting that taxi fares for local and long distance operations would increase as of 01 August 2018.
Molelekwa dismissed reports that the taxi industry will be part of the planned petrol price strike that seeks to force government to ease petrol price strain on motorists.
“While the taxi industry feels the pinch of the petrol price, Santaco believes a taxi strike on petrol is not an option for now. Instead Santaco wishes to meet with the State President Cyril Ramaphosa in order to find alternative ways of managing the pressure on taxis.
“This however, does not take away considerations for Santaco to embark on a strike or any other action,” Molelekwa said.

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