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"Parliament had the opportunity to step in and demonstrate leadership in addressing the issue of fuel price moderation, but Nqakula's decision places party interests above the welfare of hard-pressed South Africans. The ANC government has once again proven that it is out of touch with the suffering of citizens who are grappling with the high cost of living."
The DA is deeply disappointed by the recent decision of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, to dismiss our urgent request for a debate of national importance on soaring fuel prices and the cost of living. In her response, Nqakula has shockingly deemed this issue as unworthy of immediate attention, stating that it does not take precedence over other scheduled parliamentary business.
This dismissal is a clear indication that the ANC government has become indifferent to the suffering of ordinary South Africans. It is astounding that Nqakula fails to recognise the urgency of the matter, considering the daily struggle faced by South Africans who are going to bed hungry due to their inability to afford basic necessities or are forced to allocate the majority of their income to cover escalating transport costs.
Nqakula's decision not only disregards the plight of our citizens but also shields her comrades in government from being held accountable for their refusal to review the fuel price methodology to ensure affordability. Our request for a debate of national importance was rooted in the ANC government's stubborn refusal to reduce burdensome administrative taxes on fuel, which has turned the fuel price framework into a tool for extracting excessive taxes to fund a corrupt and wasteful government.
The consequences of this inaction are dire, as another fuel price increase is projected for early October. These successive fuel hikes will inevitably lead to a surge in food price inflation and place an unbearable burden on consumers who are already struggling to make ends meet. South Africans can only endure so many price shocks before they reach a breaking point.
It is not surprising that the ANC government has shown little interest in rationalising fuel taxes, levies, and transportation and storage costs to achieve cost savings and lower fuel prices. Recent findings by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) have highlighted that administered fuel prices are a significant driver of inflation, with key components of the fuel price consistently surpassing inflation rates.
Parliament had the opportunity to step in and demonstrate leadership in addressing the issue of fuel price moderation, but Nqakula's decision places party interests above the welfare of hard-pressed South Africans. The ANC government has once again proven that it is out of touch with the suffering of citizens who are grappling with the high cost of living.
The DA calls on all Members of Parliament to prioritise the interests of the people they serve and join us in demanding a thorough and urgent debate on the cost of living crisis. It is time for decisive action to alleviate the burden on our fellow South Africans who are struggling to make ends meet.
Issued by Kevin Mileham MP and Dr Dion George MP