News / South Africa

Gopolang Moloko
3 minute read
4 Oct 2018
3:20 pm

No ‘new dawn’, just pain and ‘stimulated’ fuel prices – IFP

Gopolang Moloko

Food prices, commuting costs and inequality have gone up but salaries are staying the same, according to the IFP.

IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa. Image: Twitter/Mkhuleko Hlengwa

Inkatha Freedom Party have tabled an open letter to president Cyril Ramaphosa urging him to scrap fuel levies.

The letter elaborates how the party was optimistic at the election of Ramaphosa, hoping for prosperity. They describe the presidents’ slogan ‘a new dawn’ as signifying an era ushering in change as “nothing short of pain and struggle for the majority of South Africans.”

“The more things change the more they stay the same.”

The IFP blames government for April’s VAT increase of 1%, with the fuel levy escalating to 52 cents.

“As I write to you, the fuel price stands at its highest without any hope in sight that the situation will improve in the immediate future, yet there is nothing coming from you Sir,” spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said in the letter.

“The economy is not growing, unemployment is rising, taxes have increased across the board and salaries have not increased significantly to make up for the now 7th increase in the fuel price.”

The party reminded the ANC of a statement it released in September 1993 in which it demanded the suspension of a petrol price increase.

“The ill-considered and uncaring decision to increase the petrol price only confirms the NP government does not have the interests of the majority of South Africans, who are poor and struggling desperately to make ends meet, at heart. If the government persists in pressing ahead with these indefensible price hikes, they will be inviting a similar reaction to that when VAT was increased. Now is the time for them to establish the tradition of a government that cares for and consults with its citizens,” was what the ANC’s statement said in 1993.

The Inkatha Freedom Party said it was the poorest of the poor who were hit the hardest, with the inequality gap increasing.

“Mr President, whilst we are not in control of global prices of fuel, we are in control of the taxes and levies we charge per litre and to continue charging these taxes on the backs of the poor, your government is complicit in the oppression of the very people it is mandated to serve.

“The fuel levies of R5.30 must be suspended as a matter of urgency, until global prices of fuel have stabilised, to give relief to the majority of South Africans. They demanded the president break his silence and provide leadership.”

Ramaphosa introduced a stimulus package following an announcement by Stats SA that the country was in recession last month.

The package contains five measures to stimulate the economy.

Announcing the package to the country, he said: “Firstly, to ignite economic activity in our country, secondly, to restore investor confidence, thirdly, to prevent further job losses and of course to create new jobs, fourthly, to address some urgent challenges that affect the conditions that are faced by a number of vulnerable groups. A fifth measure has to do with the municipal area.”

The package, according to Ramaphosa, would introduce growth, enhance economic reforms and prioritse public spending to support job creation.

The IFP’s response is that food prices have gone up, commuting costs have gone up and inequality has increased.

Read the IFP’s full open letter here.

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