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Minister Patel says fuel price hike in line with global average

The price of a litre of petrol has more than doubled over the past decade.

Picture: pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel says there is very little government can do to stem fuel price increases.

Patel has responded to a parliamentary question posed by the Economic Freedom Fighters on Tuesday.

Fuel prices have gone up again; 93 octane will cost 26 cents more, while 95 is going up by 23 cents per litre.

You'll also have to fork out up to 26 cents more for diesel, while illuminating paraffin is going up between 22 and 30 cents.

Patel explains government imports the bulk of its fuel and so there is nothing much the state can do.

The price of a litre of petrol has more than doubled over the past decade and, as always, the pain is being felt the hardest by ordinary South Africans.

This man says he is tired of the increases. “I don’t really know who to blame for the whole thing. I’m getting tired of it.”

Many South Africans are struggling to make ends meet, as this woman explains: “As low-income people, we are unable to cope because there’s no increase in my salary.”

Despite the steep increases in fuel prices, the minister says the cost in the country remains in line with the global average. But he concedes the economy is suffering.

He cited a 2017 study by the Reserve Bank which showed a 10% year-on-year increase in the petrol price led to a 1.2 percentage point hike in headline inflation in the long run.

KNOCK-ON EFFECT

On Tuesday, the National Taxi Association (NTA) announced fares will increase following the latest announcement of a fuel price hike.

This is the second rise in petrol price in two months, bringing the total cost to more than R16 per litre.

The NTA’s Alpheus Mlalazi said current taxi fares are no longer practical.

“The members on the ground cannot absorb these increases that compromises our safety in the industry. As a consequence, this association is left without a choice but to increase their fares.”

At the same time, consumers are expected to fork out more for municipal rates and eventually food in the coming months.

Researcher Julie Smith, who compiles data on food prices, said food is also expected to go up.

“Between September and June, the food basket for low-income households has increased by 7%. So, we could be looking at an extra 5%.”

The advice from the experts is to cut back on luxury items and non-essentials.

Additional reporting by Gia Nicolaides & Tshegofatso Mathe.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)