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Legal action threat to deregulate fuel prices

The continuous hikes of petrol prices have led to urgent requests to the Energy and finance ministers Gwede Mantashe and Enoch Godongwana to deregulate fuel prices and reduce fuel levy by trade union solidarity with formal writings to the two ministers.

The proposals are aimed at easing the financial pressure on motor drivers and fuel businesses across the land.

“South Africans currently find themselves in the precarious position that many people have not fully recovered financially from the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Theuns du Buisson, economic researcher at Solidarity.

“It is in light of this that we call on the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to urgently deregulate all fuel prices at both wholesale and retail levels. We also appeal to the Department of Finance to reduce the fuel levy.”

The Union argues that sticking with the increased South African petrol prices will only do the nation’s economy harm.

It is therefore recommended that a near R20 per litre increase is reduced to lower or standard rates until the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e unemployed local motorists re-enter the job market and businesses recapture healthy turnover.

“The pandemic and years of sluggish economic growth are a reality while the cost of living is still rising. One such cost is the price of fuel, which is currently at its highest level in South Africa’s history.

“According to the latest CPI figures from Statistics South Africa, fuel is currently 19,9% more expensive than it was a year ago in September 2020. Since then, we have had massive price increases, and specifically the increase of more than R1 per litre on each fuel type at the beginning of November this year,” Du Buisson added.

The researcher added that our local government artificially manipulates petrol prices, rather than striving to minimise the costs as other nations do.

Du Buisson believes the energy and finance ministers will be acting outside of reason and fair play if the hiked petrol price of nearly R20 per litre goes ahead. The ministers could be taken to the court of law.

“Should the ministers decide not to offer relief to citizens, legal action challenging it in court cannot be ruled out,” Du Buisson concluded.

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