A woman makes her way to a taxi in Durban’s central business district. With yesterday’s fuel price increase, consumers are feeling the pinch of the rising costs of transport and food.
Durban - Everybody will be affected by the increase in fuel prices, although not in the same way.

This is according to Dawie Roodt, an economist at Efficient Group, in reaction to last night’s fuel price increases.

Roodt said international oil producers would benefit from the increase and people visiting South Africa would benefit from a weak exchange rate.

According to the department of energy, the latest increase was caused by high oil prices and a weak rand.

Roodt explained that the negative effect could take a week or even a month to be felt by locals.

Taxi commuters might feel the increase faster than most.

One should not expect sympathy from supermarket chains either, he said. Roodt said supermarkets’ aim was to make profits and they would try to pass on the fuel cost increase to consumers.

For Julie Smith of the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group, the people who suffered the most were women, who had to cut down on food they put on the table. She said there were other consequences, such as grant recipients having to go to town on fewer occasions because transport would become more expensive.

“Pensioners would try to do all their shopping and run errands in one go and stay at home the rest of the month.”

Smith said that because of heavy economising, the township and rural economy was also affected as people bought less goods in their vicinity. The R10 increase in grants was doing little to mitigate the plight of people who were poor, she said.

“If the current trajectory doesn’t change, then we are really in deep trouble,” she said.

Sifiso Shangase, SA National Taxi Council office manager, said the fuel price hike would affect the industry.

He said it only increased taxi fares once a year, in July, by R1.

“Only when we have met will we decide on what we will do next,” he said. “For now, we will continue operating as normal.”



He said the industry would meet as soon as possible.

Mandla Gcaba, owner of Tansnat, which operates Durban’s municipal bus service, said even though the company was affected by the constant fuel price increases, it was bound by its contract to increase bus fares only once a year.

“We have to apply to the city and motivate why we want to increase fares by a certain percentage, and that is something we can only do on April 1,” he said.

“We hope the government will help us.”

Rail commuters would be unaffected by the fuel price hikes, said Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa national spokesperson Nana Zenani, as Metrorail trains run on electricity.

“We increase fares once a year and they are below inflation because we are not allowed to make them higher. We are not a profit-generating business.”

Daily News