Cape Town - Cash-strapped consumers have been hit with a triple-whammy of sharp fuel price hikes, an increase in electricity tariffs that kicked in on July 1, and ongoing load shedding.
From today a litre of 95 ULP costs R26.74 and 93 is will be R26.31/l.
Paraffin prices increase by R1.66/l. The maximum LP Gas retail price drops by R2.18/kg.
While the National Energy Regulator of South Africa in February rejected Eskom’s request for a 20.5% hike in the price of electricity, it did allow a 9.6% increase, which, for City customers, came into effect on July 1.
Meanwhile, as Eskom announced on Tuesday that it had reached an agreement with the labour unions in the wage talks, load shedding remained a factor.
Eskom said: “It is important to note that while the workforce is returning to work, the system will still take some time to recover. As a result of the strike, maintenance work has had to be postponed, and this backlog will take time to clear.”
Trade union Uasa spokesperson Abigail Moyo said the fuel price hike called for urgent intervention.
“With fuel now well past the R25 margin, small businesses who depend on generators during load shedding will struggle to keep their electricity supply afloat. How much more will they be forced to spend on fuel, on top of the electricity hikes?” Moyo asked.
She said the situation was an economic disaster for workers, who must match their disposable income with growing inflation rates.
Santaco provincial chairperson Mandla Hermanus said the taxi industry was caught between a rock and a hard place with the fuel hikes, and would have to adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
“We absorb most of these increases, but it is getting very tough for us now as we have begun to notice the erosion of our profits, but increasing prices chases our customers away, so it’s a balancing act and it's tough for the industry at the moment,” he said.
In May, the majority of taxi associations increased their fares. Those that didn’t, did so last month, while the remainder increased their fares from July 1. Long distance taxis increased their fares by R150 for a return trip, and by R100 for a single trip.
StatsSA said prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages jumped by 2.1% between April and May, representing the largest monthly increase since February 2016, when the monthly rise was also 2.1%.
Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said: “Sunflower oil is almost 40% more expensive than it was a year ago. Prices jumped by 16.1% between April and May.”
Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt said: “The reality that South Africa is heading for a technical recession…”
The government’s continued bail out of state-owned enterprises and prevention of restructuring of public service were also to blame, he said.
“More than 2 million workers lost their jobs in the private sector due to the Covid-19 In the same period, not a single public servant lost his or her job, or took a salary cut. The country is now paying the price,” Roodt said.