The following speech was delivered by Kevin Mileham MP today, during a debate of national importance on the fuel price hike.
Today, the people of South Africa are watching us closely. We are here with the sole purpose to Slash Fuel Prices. That is what the people of South Africa demand, and that is what this Parliament must do.
We are not here today to hear excuses about the global conditions, Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, government mistakes or ANC spin. We are here to Slash Fuel Prices, based on what government can do!
The only question to the ANC, is: Are you here today to Slash Fuel Prices too?
Allow me to quote something you might recognize: “The ill-considered and uncaring decision to increase the petrol price only confirms the … government does not have the interests of the majority of South Africans, who are poor and struggling desperately to make ends meet, at heart.”
This statement was issued by the ANC in September 1993, against the Apartheid government. Today, the ANC is guilty of exactly the same thing.
So I ask again: Are you here today to Slash Fuel Prices, as South Africa is demanding that you do?
Let’s start with a few facts. Our government adds more than a third on to the basic fuel price in the form of taxes and levies. The ANC government do this, to quote Tim Cohen in Daily Maverick, because fuel taxes are “difficult to avoid and easy to collect.” These taxes include a R3.93 per litre General Fuel Levy and a R2.18 per litre Road Accident Fund levy.
Difficult to Avoid, and Easy to Collect. Essentially for the ANC Government, road users are easy prey to tax hard, and tax often!
But South Africa has reached the end of its tether with this daylight robbery.
Yesterday, the Democratic Alliance handed over a petition to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Energy, calling on them to implement the proposals that the DA has been putting forward to address the sky-rocketing fuel price.
Our petition garnered more than 130 000 signatures and comments, making it one of the largest ever submitted to Parliament.
Signatories had the chance to leave personal messages, as they pledged their support for this debate, and for the demand to Slash Fuel Prices.
Just a few comments illustrate the general sentiment:
- Dean Boy said: “Let’s stop the fuel tax rip-off. It is time for government to cut the exorbitant taxes on fuel in order to lower the price. People are suffering due to the costs of living;”
- Yezdi Phiroz stated: “Government must STOP burdening the fuel prices with their taxes;” and
- Sello Kumako, noted: “The ANC government must cut the exorbitant taxes on fuel. If not, the poorest will suffer more on food and other basic materials.”
The DA hereby formally tables our simple, practical and implementable proposals to Slash Fuel Prices.
For starters, let’s get rid of the R3.93 per litre General Fuel Levy, because it has nothing to do with fuel. It is just “Difficult to Avoid, and Easy to Collect.”
That money goes straight into the Treasury and adds about R90 billion to the big pot of money that funds corruption and mismanagement. If we scrap that, government will be forced to be more frugal in their expenditure.
Perhaps we can get rid of R22 million flagpoles, R350 million donations to Cuba, inflated contracts, captured entities, a bloated cabinet of expensive ministers and deputies, and all other unnecessary and frivolous expenses.
Maybe cut out the R1.8 billion rand spent on VIP protection for ministers who are driven around in fancy vehicles at taxpayer expense and don’t feel the effects of a fuel price increase!
It is estimated that this government loses R300 billion a year to corruption. That amount can cover the R90 billion collected annually from the General Fuel Levy more than three-times-over!
The second thing we must do is reform the Road Accident Fund Levy. The RAF is a cesspool of mismanagement, and every litre of fuel purchased is paying for that.
Our demand is that the R2.18 RAF levy be cut, for all road users who can prove that they have a valid, comprehensive third-party insurance. Stop forcing them to pay for insurance twice. Instead, give them a tax rebate through SARS, claimable on their annual tax returns on their fuel purchases.
These two steps would cut R6.11 per litre of fuel!
For a tank of 50 litres, we have just cut R305.50
For a truck or bus of 500 litres, we have just cut R3055.00 per fill-up.
But the DA’s comprehensive plan demands does not end there.
The third thing we must do is to deregulate our fuel sector.
Maybe another quote from the ANC’s own mouth will help: “Government intends to move away from price control (on fuel) with the achievement of suitable transitional milestones and arrangements. Control of industry margins, at wholesale and retail level will be removed and thereafter will be determined on a competitive and commercial basis.”
This one comes from the 1998 White Paper on Energy, under this ANC government, 24 years ago.
If the ANC fails to implement this (as it has!), we will do it for them. The DA will shortly be introducing a Private Member’s Bill to amend section 2 of the Petroleum Products Act.
The purpose of this Bill is to deregulate the fuel sector to increase competition, at both the wholesale and retail level. Let fuel retailers and fuel stations compete on price, subject only to a maximum regulated price, thereby driving prices down.
And before anyone suggests that this is going to result in job losses for pump attendants, please note that we are NOT proposing amending that section of the Act which prohibits self-service retail outlets.
Speaker, this debate is not a DA fight, but the fight of every South African.
The DA is proud to announce that key role-players in the following sectors have explicitly pledged their support for our demands:
- Long distance freight and logistics providers;
- A number of individual driver-owner and fleet truck owners;
- The touring and transfer bus sector;
- Aviation entities;
- The intercity bus sector; and
- The taxi industry.
Failing to act on our proposals will be a slap in all of their faces.
That is why we call on all political parties represented here to join these sectors, which form the foundation of our economy, and the more than 130 000 people who have signed our petition, to support our proposals to reduce the fuel price.
Let’s stop feeding the beast of ANC corruption with unaffordable fuel taxes.
Slash fuel prices now!