Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has reportedly said that the petrol price is likely to rise even higher if the government scraps e-tolls.
Mantashe is quoted saying this in a Fin24 report published on Thursday (2 December).
Fuel levies and e-tolls
“And [Transport Minister Fikile] Mbalula, he talks of scrapping the e-tolls. I can tell you – he will go for petrol levies,” Mantashe reportedly said during a media interview in Nigeria where President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded a state visit.
His comment comes soon after Mbalula said the government will announce a decision on the future of Gauteng e-tolls in February 2022.
“We will be ready by February to make an announcement on this matter and how we are going to handle the e-toll thing in SA. We are dealing with the matter with the minister of finance. The Minister of Finance will be in a position to make the announcement in the budget speech in February,” he said last week.
The government introduced the Gauteng freeway e-tolling system in 2011, but it has faced widespread non-compliance and resistance.
Petrol price hikes
Mantashe’s comment comes in the wake of painful fuel price hikes in recent months. On Wednesday, the petrol price rose by 75c per litre compared to November’s price, while diesel rose by around 72c a litre.
This pushed the price of unleaded petrol to R20.07 per litre for 93 and R20.29 per litre for 95, while diesel increased to R17.92 per litre.
A large chunk of the price is made up of fuel levies, including the General Fuel Levy (GFL) and Road Accident Fund (RAF) levy.
According to the Automobile Association of SA (AA), the GFL accounts for 23 percent of the petrol price while RAF levy accounts for 13 percent.
There have been calls for the government to reduce these levies to cushion South Africans from rising fuel costs, but Mantashe told Fin24 that there is nothing the government can do.
“There’s nothing we can do, unless we change the formula. It goes up, it goes down,” he reportedly said.