The weakening rand is preventing South Africans from fully benefiting from falling oil prices. File picture: Karen Sandison / Independent Media.

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma’s axing of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene last week affected more than the nation’s faith in him.

The Automobile Association (AA) has said that motorists were also set to feel the direct impact of Zuma’s unexpected removal of Nene.

Nene was removed as finance minister last week and replaced by David van Rooyen. Three days later, Zuma announced he would be bringing back Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and moved Van Rooyen to the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs ministry.

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The AA said that the petrol price is likely to remain largely unchanged in January, according to mid-month price data, while diesel is due for a drop of up to 50 cents a litre. However, without the current rand weakness motorists would have saved a further 20 cents a litre, while the previous few months would have seen around 60 cents worth of price relief had the local currency remained stable.

“Although the rand has recovered some of its losses, the current flattering fuel price picture is solely due to continued weak oil prices. We can therefore be grateful that oil prices remain weak, and that the rand recovered some ground following the reappointment of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister on Sunday,” the AA said.

The AA added that it was cautious of pinning hopes of further drops in the oil price since the month had not ended.

“We don’t think the rand’s recent weakness has yet been fully reflected in the fuel price, and if oil prices tick up, the results could make for a very bleak new year for motorists and commuters.

“We advise motorists to moderate their expectations of a fuel price drop in January.”

Cape Argus