It might be more than half a century later, but that hasn’t stopped 91-year old Pick n Pay founder, Raymond Ackerman, from celebrating government’s decision to put a price cap on 93 octane petrol, which means retailers can effectively sell below the regulated price. Government has also reduced the levy in an effort to take pressure off hard pressed consumers.
Ackerman has a long history with petrol pricing after publicly taking on the government in the 1970s to sell petrol at a discounted price. Favourably known as South Africa’s consumer champion, it is the one fight he took on during his career that he, unfortunately, didn’t win.
Raymond had a small win in 2018 when Pick n Pay’s Smart Shopper loyalty programme partnered with BP to offer cashback in points for fuel purchases but says it was always his goal to cut petrol prices for consumers.
He explains his quest to fight for the consumer. “We were stopped when we tried to cut petrol prices at our Boksburg Hypermarket store 52 years ago as fuel producers and government always held a tight relationship. We weren’t allowed to cut petrol, or the prices of many other essential items, such as bread. We even tried to offer our customers a discount for fuel if they bought food from us but this was stopped too. Eventually, the government threatened to arrest me if I sold petrol at a discount.”
Now, 50 plus years later, Ackerman lauds the decision to discount fuel for consumers. “By cutting the price of petrol, you give real relief to customers who are taking enormous strain. There’s no good reason why petrol can’t be discounted, just like any other commodity,” concludes Ackerman.
To further help customers save on fuel costs, Pick n Pay Smart Shopper customers will earn double points every Wednesday and Friday this April when buying fuel at BP and swiping their loyalty card.