The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has submitted a dossier packed with practical suggestions to help the Ministers in the Economic Cluster to advise the President on how to lighten the load on hard-pressed citizens.
This submission is in response to the declaration that the Ministers will engage with broader society on the financial burden of the increased fuel price. Our submission is the culmination of public participation, research and experience gained over the last few years.
The scrapping of e-tolls is our number one priority as the public neither asked for nor deserved this burden. OUTA urges the President to scrap this system immediately.
OUTA firmly believes that scrapping e-tolls will immediately bring welcome relief.
We also recommend reassessing the Road Accident Fund levy, which is built into the fuel price, due to the corruption and abuse at this institution. It is unacceptable that the South African public must carry the burden of corruption and incompetence any longer.
The various rebates to state departments and SOEs must be ended.
The general fuel levy has increased by 165% over the last decade, which reflects poorly when compared to the accumulative inflation increase that was under 70%.
Other SADC nations such as Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Lesotho, a mix of both oil and non-oil producing countries, charge less for fuel than South Africa.
How is it that countries within the SADC region, with lower demand, can charge less for fuel? These are serious questions that need to be addressed.
In a recent statement, the Ministers tasked with reducing pressure on consumers cited global geopolitical developments such as the US “trade war” as the reason for the weakening rand and thus the increasing fuel price.
OUTA firmly believes that Government needs to critically analyse and address the excessive increases in taxes and levies over the last 10 years not just on the fuel price, but on a number of other services. OUTA maintains that many of the price adjustments have been made to cover shortfalls due to mismanagement and corrupt practices.
South Africans have paid the price of corruption for far too long. It is imperative that the President deal with the root cause of our weakened rand while implementing short-term solutions to help South Africans cope with over-inflated food and fuel costs.
The South African economy is at one of its lowest points since the 2008 recession and the effects of state capture corruption, maladministration and general mismanagement of public funds are making it harder for citizens to balance the costs of day-to-day living.
The constant increase in costs, the continued high level of unemployment and the lack of any significant increases in wages led to the number of people living below the poverty line in South Africa increasing to nearly 14 million in 2017.
OUTA implores the President and the Economic Cluster to consider our submission seriously and implement these measures to help South Africans cope with the difficult conditions facing us all.
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