An initiative calling itself SA Fuel War has launched a campaign to protest petrol price hikes in South Africa through activism that aims to reduce the amount of money the government generates through the fuel levy.
It is asking commuters who travel to work in private cars to work from home for 10 days, beginning on 5 November. It is also appealing to employers to allow their staff to work from home during that period.
“This is just the first phase,” SA Fuel War organiser Craig Berman told MyBroadband. The aim with the initial push is to show the powers that be that SA Fuel War means business.
Berman said that the short-term aim is to sign up 70,000 to 100,000 by 4 November, some of whom will be able to commit to work from home between 5 November and 16 November.
From there they will continue focusing on recruiting supporters until the end of January. This will give motorists and their employers time to make the necessary arrangements to allow them to work from home for longer periods.
Unless the government takes steps to drop the petrol price before the end of January, Berman said they will launch a war of attrition by strangling the supply of fuel revenue.
“We cannot simply park our cars on the freeway and walk home like they did in Germany to protest the fuel hikes there. We’d put most of the insurance companies out of business,” added SA Fuel War.
“What we can do is engage in a war of attrition.”
SA Fuel War argues that private motorists, especially those who commute to work on a daily basis, represent a significant chunk of fuel revenue and tax income via the fuel levy.
There are over 7 million passenger cars registered in South Africa, according to statistics from eNatis for September 2018. The Department of Energy reported that by the end of June, over 6 billion litres of petrol had been sold in South Africa and almost 5.6 billion litres of diesel.
“We, as the public with the most number of cars, buying the most fuel, and paying the most in fuel levies are the majority,” SA Fuel War said.
If a reasonable proportion South Africa’s motorists band together and reduce the amount of fuel they consume in a month, the government will feel their combined efforts in its pocket.
With enough people, just reducing your fuel consumption from one 45 litre tank per week, to one tank of petrol per month, will result in an oversupply of fuel and a significant deficit in fuel levy income.
“What do you do with a surplus of 800 million litres of fuel? You have to drop the price,” said SA Fuel War.
The aim of SA Fuel War is to get the government to drop the petrol price to R12 per litre. If the price is not dropped, the organisation will begins its war of attrition, said Berman.