Anti-tax abuse lobbyists Outa’s Wayne Duvenage has debunked the DA’s claim that e-tolls were behind the recent fuel price hike, which as of yesterday went up to almost R16 per litre of petrol.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane lamented the massive consumer blow while on a taxi ride at the Noord Taxi Rank in Johannesburg, saying the poor, who rode taxis and depended on affordable transport would be the most affected.
Maimane said: “The state committed itself to this e-tolls project. Now they have to pay it back, so (the) only other way they can do it is to increase the taxation for consumers so that they pay for vanity projects.
“It is ANC policies that have ensured that we end up at R16 a litre‚ the highest it has been since 1994. We all expect things to go up‚ but at the level that the ANC is going‚ who knows what other pressures they are going to put on the people of this country.”
Taxes that contributed to the fuel price, such as the fuel levy and the Road Accident Fund (RAF) tax were being used by government to fund expenses they thought would have been covered by other revenue streams, claimed DA shadow transport minister Manny de Freitas.
De Freitas said: “So the e-tolls is one example. They thought that the public would be paying for it. It’s an incredibly low payment level that’s happening. They need to make commitments on their loans, so we are paying for it through the back door.”
But Duvenage argued that it was, at best, an exaggeration to claim that taxes that contributed to the fuel price were raised in part to pay for e-tolls.
Duvenage said: “The fuel levy and the Road Accident Fund are the two biggest taxes that amount to 50% of the fuel price. Those are taxes and, when e-tolls started, the fuel levy brought in R20 billion a year. Today the fuel levy brings in three times that amount, around R75 billion a year. That’s not funding e-tolls, it’s just a tax. The reality is, only 10 cents of the fuel levy goes to e-tolls. In its entirety the e-tolls get less than five percent of the fuel levy.”
On other issues affecting the fuel price hike, Duvenage said Outa had already warned government eight years ago that increasing the fuel levy by 10 cents would have paid for Gauteng’s highway improvements instead of the e-tolls project.
“If they had raised the fuel levy then, as they should have done, they would already have been done paying.”