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Heading off a cliff: The rising costs of living expected to have dire consequences

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File image.

Published May 14, 2022

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Editorial

Johannesburg - The petrol price is scheduled to increase next month.

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When it does, motorists could be paying R3/litre more than they currently are.

It won’t just be more expensive to travel or commute – everything will be.

We depend on road transport for most of the things we buy inland, from food to clothes. Eskom depends on oil to keep its plants running when the coal gets wet or the turbines break down – or both. And then there’s Ukraine. The ongoing war has a major effect on food and cooking oil prices.

Here at home, it’s going to cost farmers more to harvest their winter crops and sow their summer crops.

But all of this could be moot as South Africans edge ever closer to their own fiscal cliff. Almost half of the working age population in this country is either unable to get a job or has actually given up. Before Covid-19, more than a third of us depended on social welfare grants every month.

The situation is dire – before you factor in the ongoing crises of load shedding and extreme weather because of climate change. On top of all that, there’s still the cost of last year’s failed insurrection, which also seeps into our economy like acid mine drainage.

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Perhaps the most galling though is that fuel, which is shipped through our country, is sold more cheaply in neighbouring countries. We pay a premium because a large part of the fuel price is tax.

The government gave us a slight reprieve for the last two months, but that’s due to end next month. What really hurts is that there isn’t much to show for that financial burden – the condition of our roads would suggest the money being raised isn’t going towards that.

We need decisive leadership, but there’s no suggestion we will get any of that either.

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