Durban — Economists have said that the government should do more to curb high fuel increases, which affect the lives of ordinary South Africans.
This comes after the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy announced yet another increase in fuel prices set to come into effect on Wednesday.
The expected increases are as follows:
- 93 octane petrol – an increase of R1.71 per litre;
- 95 octane petrol – an increase of R1.71 per litre;
- Diesel 0.05% – an increase of R2.84 per litre;
- Diesel 0.005% – an increase of R2.76 per litre;
- Illuminating paraffin – an increase of R2.78 per litre;
- LPG – an increase of R2.26 per kg.
Economist Gugulethu Xaba said the government should do more to curb these price increases, which affect the lives of ordinary South Africans, “people who are already cash-strapped”.
Economist Bonke Dumisa said these high increases for petrol, diesel and paraffin would destroy the lives of ordinary citizens.
In a statement, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said the average Brent crude oil price increased from $79.75 a barrel to $84.78 over the past month due to production cuts by Saudi Arabia.
“High prices of petrol are as a result of low inventories and refinery outages, which affected the production of blending components used in summer grade petrol, making it more expensive to produce.”
Automobile Association of SA spokesperson Layton Beard said this increase was a record. Beard said the high cost of petrol affected countries throughout the world. He said in a weak economy such as South Africa’s, the fuel price increases would hit much harder.
“This is going to be the last straw in the lives of the already economically-strained South Africans.
“Petrol and diesel increases do not only affect motorists, but affect South Africans across the board, because these increases will affect food prices.”
The People Against Petroleum Price Increases and ADeC president Visvin Reddy said the expected fuel price increases were a concern for all South Africans. These increases would push prices to the highest they have been in the past 10 months, and the impact on everyone would be devastating.
“The price of fuel has a direct impact on the cost of living, as everything will become more expensive, including food. The hardest hit will be the poor and the unemployed,” said Reddy.
“However, in South Africa, fuel prices continue to increase, and the government seems to care little. We find ourselves paying ridiculously high fuel prices because the government knows it can use the old worn-out ideas to justify unjustifiable fuel increases without fear of reprisals.”
Reddy said it was the collective responsibility of all citizens to demand answers from political parties on how they would tackle exorbitant fuel prices. It should be the litmus test to determine support for any political party.
“I give an assurance that fuel prices will be key in our party manifesto. We commit to drawing up a charter that will give assurances that fuel prices will be reduced, and we will fight tooth and nail to achieve this,” he said.
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