President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: ANA

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday government would announce a package of economic measures to alleviate the pinch felt by South Africans as a result of fuel hikes and the VAT increase.

Ramaphosa was addressing business and government leaders in Pretoria ahead of the BRICS Summit later this month.

“We will be announcing a package of measures to ease the burden of the price increase, this would include the finalisation of the VAT exempt products.

“I will ask the ministers in the economic cluster to finalise the package in a matter of two weeks,” Ramaphosa said.

He emphasised that the price increases were a result of price fluctuations that occur as a result of the dollar-rand exchange as the price of oil as a commodity.

Ramaphosa also called on retailers, particularly food processors to hold back from imposing increases on food items.

The government has come under fire from opposition parties and civil society over the latest increase with another fuel price hike in the pipeline next month. 

The African National Congress has also urged the government to intervene.

Earlier Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said South Africa is a non-oil producing country and the government had to accept the prices of crude oil determined in the international market.

He said road users should try carpooling, avoid unnecessary journeys and practice "economical driving techniques" to reduce the impact of the fuel hike on their pockets.

Radebe explained that Ramaphosa had instructed that the mandate of the VAT commission should also be expanded to include the fuel price issues.
 
The inland price for a litre of 95 octane unleaded petrol rose to a record R16,02 on Wednesday. The coastal price is R15,43. Prices are expected to increase again in August.

- African News Agency (ANA)