Durban - With the price of fuel set to increase by more than R2 for petrol and diesel on Wednesday, small business owners pressed to the financial limit voiced their concerns over the ever-rising cost of living.
By midnight on Wednesday, the price of unleaded 95 will go up by R2.57 per litre, and 93 by R2.37. Diesel - 0.05% sulphur will increase by R2.31 and 0.005% sulphur by R2.30.
IOL spoke to members of the public at various fuel stations about the impact of the rising cost of fuel.
Kenny, a plumber operating in KZN, said his business had been negatively affected by the fuel hike because it was hard to adjust the price of his services without it affecting his customer base.
“We heard that fuel is going up again so even when we are working it is very hard because how are we going to charge the people more? The customer is also finding it very hard to understand what is going on. It takes a long time for us to adjust prices and all that,” Kenny said.
Krish Madray from Chatsworth, who operates a school transport business, said he was “barely making it” due to the rising fuel cost and highly inflated cost of living.
“This is going to have a detrimental effect on my family. I think that something has to be done about it in order for us to have the bare minimum that we need to provide for our family,” he said.
Riccardo Annandale, a photographer and videographer operating in KwaZulu-Natal, said his customers were no longer willing to pay the usual rates because they, too, were feeling the pinch amid the fuel hike.
Annandale said it was becoming too costly to travel to clients on discounted rates.
“There has been a drastic effect on my business personally. A lot of clientele are not willing to pay my current rate because they are stuck on cash, and that is having a cascading effect on small businesses like mine because it is becoming far too expensive for me to travel from the small town I live in to the business hubs in Durban,” he said.
A grass cutter who spoke to IOL while filling fuel for his machine at a garage, said he was now taking home less money because a larger portion was going towards the cost of fuel.
Late last month, the Organisation undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) called on the South African government to extend the R1.50 fuel levy reprieve to allow some breathing room for consumers.
OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage said the reprieve which was put in place in April, May and June to cushion the blow on the rising fuel prices amid the Russia-Ukraine war, was a short term solution to the problem.
“We understand the cost to the government, so instead of dropping it (the reprieve) to 75c for another month, they should keep the R1.50 reprieve in place.
“Petrol is extremely expensive now and is impacting on inflation, it is impacting on commuter pricing, and we really do need to see a longer-term solution but for now, the short-term solution is the for the government to provide some reprieve and that is in the fuel levy,” Duvenage said