Saftu: Workers’ salaries not enough to meet increasing living costs

Saftu's Zwelinzima Vavi says the working class will bear the brunt of these increases.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) says workers’ salaries aren't going up enough to meet the increasing cost of living.

Motorists will be paying more for fuel from today after the latest hike kicked in at midnight.

Ninety-three octane will cost 26 cents more while 95 is going up by 23 cents per litre.

It's also up to 26 cents more for diesel while illuminating paraffin is going up between 22 cents and 30 cents.

Saftu's Zwelinzima Vavi says the working class will bear the brunt of these increases.

“We’re already going through unbelievable squeeze at the economic level and I don’t want to say this is a last nail in the coffin because we’ve been saying so in all of the previous rates of increases of VAT, fuel levies and others.”

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Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel says there is very little we can do to stem fuel price increases.

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

He says 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.

Additional reporting by Chanel September.