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Petrol tax burning us up

At R13.23 a litre for unleaded petrol, South Africans are paying R221 in taxes to fill up a 60-litre tank.

According to financial services specialist Direct Axis the current petrol price has placed South Africa among the 60 most-expensive countries for petrol in the world – in position 41.

Motorists pay R3.69 tax within the R13.23-a-litre price of petrol.

The price of petrol is cheapest in Venezuela at 11c a litre. It is most expensive in Turkey at R26.97 a litre, which is a little more than double what South Africans pay.

Howard Dembovsky from the Justice Project SA said the use of citizens’ taxes was “scandalous”.

“Less than 40% of the fuel levy is used on road infrastructure and no one is giving us the straight story on where the rest is going.

“Things like e-tolling would not be necessary if the money was being used accordingly. Worse, this money is very difficult to track,” he said.

“The levy should be used for transport-related issues, including railway infrastructure, as it does not require much constant maintenance and is cheaper to use.”

In an e-mail posted on the Arrive Alive website, Direct Axis said South Africans spend 6.5% (R203) of their daily wages on petrol.

In less than a month, it is estimated that motorists will pay 61c extra for a litre of petrol.

Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene last week mooted a possible increase in taxes due to “revenue coming in below expectations”.

Neil Roets, CEO of Debt Rescue, said a tax increase would hit the emerging middle class harder.

“Many of them have clawed their way out of poverty by working hard and counting their pennies.

“To now be faced with the threat of higher taxes as well as an all-time high fuel price is going to push large numbers of them back into poverty,” Roets said.

This is how people reacted to the impending fuel price hike on Twitter:

@Blaquedoug: “So petrol price is going up by 61c next month; and tax will increase as well? Buckle up South Africa, it’s about to hit hard on your pocket.”

@DokMbini: “In Venezuela you pay just R0.11 for a litre of petrol, here in South Africa we are being gang raped.”

@Beeshu_7: “Bread prices competing with petrol prices #smh welcome to South Africa. I don’t even have a car yet but the high petrol prices affects me.”

@shampelina: “Petrol prices in South Africa are ridiculous. At this rate we will be using bicycles as transport.”

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