Fuel prices in South Africa are set to increase this week, hitting previously unseen highs as citizens reel from the effect. Petrol will rise by 1.46 cents per litre while diesel and illuminating paraffin go up by 1.48 cents and 1.21 cents per litre respectively this week. This increase is said to be a fallout from the escalating crisis between Russia and Ukraine, which is further putting a strain on supply chains as well as pressure on the rand.
This new increase means that the pump price of petrol in provinces such as Gauteng will cost 21.60 rands per litre while in coastal cities such as Cape Town, it will dispense at 20.88 rands per litre. This is in addition to the expected 9.1% hike in electricity tariff.
President Cyril Ramaphosa had in his State of the Nation address this February promised that no South African will be left behind as the country embarks on recovery. The basic income grant of 300 rands per month given to the most vulnerable South Africans during the COVID19 lockdown was also extended for one more year. The monthly welfare stipend of 350 rands was introduced in March 2020 to provide support for the poor and most vulnerable in South Africa. Several activists and groups have demanded that the government makes this payment permanent whilst economists say that the country can scarcely afford it. After his state of the nation address on February 10, President Ramaphosa extended the payment till March 2023. This move adds ten million more people to its safety net programmes that include health care for the young and elderly.
The new increase in fuel prices, according to Layton Beard, the spokesperson of the Automobile Association in South Africa, fuel price increases are not a new phenomenon but they were alarming. “The massive fuel increases that come into effect at midnight on Wednesday night will certainly impact on every single South African given the reliance the country has on fuel, transportation, manufacturing and in the agricultural sector,” he said.
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