Fuel price hike 'to have far-reaching implications for battling households'
Johannesburg – A rise in South African fuel prices coming into effect at midnight will have far-reaching implications for cash-strapped households as food and transport prices will likely increase in tandem, a leading trade union said on Tuesday.
The retail price of petrol in South Africa will increase by five cents to R15.17 a litre in the economic hub of Gauteng, the national benchmark for prices, while the wholesale price of diesel will rise by 45 cents to R13.49, according to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
The department said the retail price of illuminating paraffin, which millions of poor South Africans still rely on for cooking and lighting, would go up by 39 cents to R7.43 in Gauteng.
In a statement, trade union United Association of South Africa (UASA) said the higher cost of paraffin was the most concerning as it would hit the unemployed and the poorest in society the hardest.
"Two litres a day for heating and cooking will now cost an extra 78 cents a day or R23.40 more per month," UASA spokesman Stanford Mazhindu said.
He added that this would worsen the plight of residents feeling the brunt of an economic downturn exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"This may not seem like much, but against the background of the Covid-19 restrictions to trade, millions have been left with very little or nothing and are yet to receive the promised R350 Covid-19 relief grant, and for them this can be the difference between heating and cooking or nothing at all. Winter is far from over for them," Mazhindu said.
UASA urged the government to quickly disburse financial aid to poor households, saying many South Africans were waiting for this relief to help them feed their families and stay warm for the rest of the winter season which ends in August.
South Africa adjusts fuel prices every month, based on global oil prices and the value of the rand currency.
African News Agency (ANA)