COSATU statement on the rise in fuel costs and electricity tariffs
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is deeply bothered by the current rise in the price of fuel and electricity in the month of August.
According to the Energy department, the petrol price is expected to rise by 91 cents per litre for both grades, while the price of diesel will increase by between 54 and 55 cents per litre.
At the same time, Nersa has approved Eskom’s electricity tariff increase of 15,63% for this year. This is happening at a time when the power utility is struggling to reduce load shedding.
These increases will create more hardship for the working class and the poor that is already suffering from record high levels of unemployment and stagnant or declining real wages. This spells disaster for many households.
Small medium enterprises are struggling after the recent lockdowns restrictions and the riots that have wrecked the economy of both KZN and Gauteng. These two provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng constitute over 50% of the economy.
These higher fuel and electricity prices will worsen an already bad situation, and this will retard economic recovery and further weaken workers buying power and erode wages in the context of unemployment and wage cuts.
The Federation is reiterating its call for the Ministry of Transport to return to Parliament to finalise both the RAF and Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bills, that were meant to set the RAF back onto a sustainable path and to ensure that payments reach claimants, and not fuel an unscrupulous legal industry that is targeting RAF as a lucrative cash cow.
Currently, increasing the fuel levy only serves to feed a bankrupt Road Accident Fund that has been mismanaged into the ground. The RAF’s deficit of almost R300 billion is the greatest threat to the fiscus after Eskom’s debt burden.
We are still waiting on government to release the research report that was conducted by the department of energy looking into possibility of a fuel price cap.
The Energy Department needs to revive its solar panel programme for indigent households, as such measures can help ease the pressures of electricity demand and cushion the poor from these steep price increases.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794