Consumers will be hard hit this week by the petrol increases which is estimated at 88c per liter.Picture: Matthews Baloyi

NTOMBI NDHLOVU and Yolande du Preez

MUCH hooting could be heard at congested petrol stations as motorists tried to fill up their tanks before the big price hike came into effect at midnight.

Gauteng consumers will now pay R11.97 a litre for petrol.

The Star visited the Total garage at the corner of Carr and Miriam Makeba streets in Newtown and the BP on Smit Street in Braamfontein.

We spoke to petrol attendants, station managers, taxi association members and motorists to find out their feelings about the 93c a litre price increase in petrol and 69c hike in diesel.

Xolani Nkomo, a petrol attendant at the Total garage, said there had been an influx of motorists trying to fill their tanks since 3pm.

“Today we are on our toes. There is no time to idle.”

Bethuel Phalandwa said he was driving to Venda.

He was filling up his 85-litre bakkie, but said it would not make a difference in savings because the price hike would catch him on his way to Venda.

Behind him was another motorist, Jerry Lekgotla, a Dube, Soweto, resident.

He was on his way home from work with his girlfriend.

Lekgotla was not aware the price was going up.

“Sorry, sweetie,” he said to his girlfriend, “no Magnum ice cream for you. I have to pay for a full tank as prices are going up.”

He complained that he would not be getting an increase at work and now he had to suffer other increases that would come with the increase in petrol.

“The cost of living is too high,” he added.

Faraday Taxi Association marshal Bongani Dlamini was unhappy, saying: “Our government does not feel for us.”

He felt bad for long-distance taxi drivers who must also contend with toll fees.

“We are powerless. We can go on strike and lose business. We increase our prices, we lose customers.”

Meanwhile, economists said the highest petrol price increase in the country’s history would cause consumers massive financial constraints in months to come.

The price hike meant that consumers would have to dig even deeper into their pockets following a steep hike in food and electricity prices this year.

Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt said he believed the latest price hike was not the end, and that consumers could expect to see another petrol price increase – of about 20c – next month.