Fuel prices set to increase by midnight

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Motorists will have to pay more at the pump starting at midnight tonight. The Department of Minerals, Resources, and Energy has announced that the price of fuel will increase by 28 cents a litre for grades of petrol, while diesel will increase by 9.1 cents per litre.

The department says the decision was informed by the higher oil prices in the global markets and Rand’s appreciation against the dollar.

Department of Minerals Resource and Energy spokesperson Robert Maake says the increases would have been worse had it not been for the Rand appreciating during the period under review and a decrease in the slate levy from 61.38 cents a litre to 17.54 cents a litre for both petrol and diesel.

“Both grades of petrol will increase by 28 cents a litre and Diesel by 9.16 cents a litre, illuminating paraffin by 58 cents. However, the price of LP gas will decrease by R1.40 per kg. The reason for all this is the higher oil prices which led to higher oil petroleum products. The Rand appreciated against the dollar and it cushioned the prices by about 15 to 20 cents a litre.”

‘Increases threaten sustainability’

Meanwhile, the Congress of the South African Trade Union (Cosatu) has lashed out at the government for failing to cushion the rising cost of living for many South Africans. Cosatu says consumers will be unable to meet their basic needs as the cost of electricity and petrol escalates.

“We the Congress of South African Trade Union is really concerned by a recent increase in the price of electricity, an increase in the price of fuel, and the decision by the Reserve Bank to increase the repo rate, this is really going to leave many workers and their families struggling. We have many, many workers who are earning the national minimum wage, which means those workers will struggle to feed and clothe themselves and their families, workers and consumers and small and medium enterprises and the economy itself is still struggling to recover from COVID-19.”

The trade union says the increases will threaten the sustainability of thousands of SMEs and place many of the workers who work for those SMEs in danger. COSATU says it supports the ANC’s decision to call for a state of disaster.

“But we also want to hear more details and also timeframes. We don’t want an open-ended declaration of the state of disaster. We want to see the plan. And we want to hear when is the ANC intending to actually fix these problems. It is totally unacceptable that the price of fuel is still allowed to continue to increase despite COSATU’s proposal for a fuel price cap. It is also unacceptable that the government has done very little to really fix the price of electricity going up at a time when workers and consumers, in general, are paying for the service they are not getting.”

Consumer activist Ina Wilken has urged consumers to tighten their belts. “The ongoing increase of petrol as well as the excessive increases in electricity and on top of it all the interest rate hike just makes it impossible for consumers to make a living, most have had no increases in their salaries post-Covid, millions don’t have jobs and once again the government has failed the SA consumer.”