Carbon tax to lower emissions: the likely impact of carbon emissions tax on households in South Africa

Author: Nkhensani Siweya (

ISSN: 2709-8575
Affiliations: Functional Analyst: Economist, South African Revenue Service (SARS)
Source: African Multidisciplinary Tax Journal, 2021 Issue 1, p. 211-227


The South African government, along with other countries, has signed the Paris Agreement to commit to lowering carbon dioxide emissions. This has led to the introduction of carbon tax in different countries to combat global warming. The Mexican government was the first to introduce carbon tax amongst the emerging economies back in 2014, while the Argentine government implemented carbon tax in January 2018. The South African government followed suite and introduced carbon tax effective 5 June 2019. Households are expected, however, to be weighed down by the levy as the carbon fuel levy will be implemented at 9 and 10 cents per litre on petrol and diesel respectively. The impact on strained households’ income is expected to emanate from the already high fuel prices, which have been on a rising trajectory since the beginning of 2019.