As feared, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has announced big fuel price increases for implementation on July 6.
Despite calls ahead of the announcement for the temporary reduction in the general fuel levy to be sustained at 150 c/l, Mantashe confirmed that the reprieve would be reduced to 75 c/l, as announced previously, and be sustained until August 3.
The fuel levy reprieve of 150c/l had been in place for April, May and June in response to the surge in prices precipitated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The Minister, therefore, confirmed the following adjustments for introduction from midnight on Wednesday:
- Petrol (both 93 ULP and LRP) will rise by 237 c/l;
- Petrol (both 95 ULP and LRP) will increase by 257 c/l;
- Diesel (0.05% sulphur) will increase by 231 c/l; and
- Diesel (0.005% sulphur) will rise by 230 c/l;
Illuminating paraffin (wholesale) will also increase by 166 c/l, while the Single Maximum National Retail Price for illuminating paraffin will increase by 221.00 c/l.
The maximum liquid petroleum gas retail price, meanwhile, will decrease by 218.00 c/kg.
The fuel prices schedule for the different zones will be published on Tuesday, July 5.
"Due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has affected fuel prices globally, the temporary reduction in the general fuel levy of 75 cents per litre announced by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Minister of Mineral Resources will be implemented in the price structures of petrol and diesel during this period until the 3rd of August 2022," Mantashe said in a statement.
In a joint statement issued in May, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and Mantashe announced that Godongwana had submitted a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly requesting the tabling of a two-month proposal for the extension of the reduction in the general fuel levy.
“This will take the form of a continuation of the relief of R1.50 per litre for the first month, from 1 June 2022 to 6 July 2022, and then a downward adjustment to the relief for the second month to 75c per litre from 7 July 2022 to 2 August 2022," the May statement read.
It has been estimated that the 150 c/l reprieve was costing R2.8-billion in foregone tax revenue every month.
Even though the rand appreciated against the US dollar, from R15.95 to R15.76, the average international product prices of petrol, diesel and Illuminating paraffin increased during the period under review.
"The movement in product prices has led to higher contributions to the Basic Fuel Price of petrol 95ULP by 201.36 c/l, 93ULP by 180.57 c/l, diesel 500ppm and 50ppm by 176.17 c/l and 175.02 c/l respectively, while the contribution to illuminating paraffin was 186.06 c/l."
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) expressed concern over the high fuel price increases for July, which is said were exacerbated by the reduction in the general fuel levy discount.
“This is the highest monthly increase in the price, taking us to just under R27/l of petrol,” OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage said in a statement.
“We note that government has not heeded the call for a continuation of the fuel levy reprieve at the full value of R1.50/l.
Clearly the tax revenue shortfalls have negated government’s ability to continue with the relaxation in the fuel levy.
"We are now paying the high price of weak economic policy that has given rise to the South African currency punching well below its potential, combined with high taxes and levies applied to petrol,” he added.