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MPs demand a fuel price plan from energy minister

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The noise by the public and MPs has shown that government was not on top of the situation

File picture: Dumisani Sibeko/Independent Media

Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe has defended himself against accusations by the official opposition that he has failed to come up with a plan to address the question of escalating fuel prices.

Radebe said it would be wrong to assume the government was not doing anything to deal with the rise in prices of fuel. He said there was no quick fix solution, but measures were considered.

But the DA insisted yesterday that Radebe has for the last three months failed to act on the matter.

It said the noise by the public and MPs has shown that government was not on top of the situation.

Radebe hit back at the DA saying the work of the government would be known soon.

“Contrary to the DA, the presentation we have made here shows the officials have proven they are up to the task,” said Radebe.

He said his department and the Central Energy Fund were also looking into the matter.

Deputy Director-General for Petroleum and Petroleum Products Regulation, Tseliso Maqubela, said they were in discussion with National Treasury on how to deal with the issue of prices for fuel.

Maqubela said they have not discussed with the National Treasury on adjustments because the budget was done in February.

But the DA’s Gavin Davis said the Minister of Finance can be asked to intervene and make adjustments to the fuel levy in October when he tables the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.

Maqubela said this would not be possible.

“We have not gone to that level of discussion on fuel levy. Parliament has already passed a vote (on the budget). If we were to make a proposal it would be proposals going forward,” said Maqubela.

Jan Esterhuizen of the IFP said he agreed with the view that government must re-look at the high fuel levy the taxpayers pay.

He said as the department also confirmed South African taxpayers pay more on fuel levy than their counterparts in the southern Africa region.

“It is a fact the South African fuel prices have reached the highest levels ever. There has been a great concern of anxiety from the public because fuel is an input to the economy. There are also concerns shared by your committee. I trust the committee realises that resolving this matter is not a quick fix,” said Radebe.

He said South Africa imports 80% of crude oil from oil producing countries.

The other 20% comes from Sasol and PetroSA. The industry contributes 8% to the Gross Domestic Product.