COSATU statement on the extension of temporary fuel price relief measures announced by government

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) appreciates the announcement of the extension of the R1.50 per litre reduction in the fuel price by government until the beginning of July. This will provide badly needed relief to workers, commuters and the economy struggling to cope with painful increases in the fuel price and the subsequent rise in transport, food, and consumer goods’ costs. 

The Federation is disappointed that this will not be enough to shield commuters from a R2.43 increase per litre increase in 93ULP and LRP  fuel, R2.33 increase in 95 ULP and LRP, R1.10 in diesel, R1.56 in paraffin and 51 cents increase in gas on the 1st of June.  These will further spur inflation and thus eroding workers’ meagre salaries, bleed businesses, dampen the economy and further frustrate efforts to create jobs and reduce unemployment.

The Federation is dismayed by the absence of medium- and long-term proposals by government on a more sustainable long-term fuel price regime and how to protect workers and the economy from international oil price volatility.  South Africa will continue to be hostage to international crises and oil and fuel price hikes unless bold measures are undertaken by government and business. These must include: 

  • A comprehensive review to the fuel price regime to reduce costs because currently half of the fuel price goes to taxes. 
  • Deregulate the fuel price regime to enable competition to help reduce prices for consumers.
  • Urgent interventions to ensure all Metro Rail lines are reopened. This will help take 10 million rail commuters off our roads. Immediate steps need to include deploying the SANDF, the re-establishment of a dedicated SAPS Railway Unit to secure our railway network as well as the ban on scrap copper and steel exports and cracking down on scrap dealers involved in cable theft. 
  • Retable the Road Accident Fund and Road Accident Benefits Scheme Bills at Parliament by August 2022. These are key to overhauling the RAF, addressing its ballooning R400 billion liabilities, and placing it on a sustainable path where its funds go to road accident victims not money hungry lawyers. 
  • Massive investments in public transport to reduce the number of commuters travelling in private cars. 
  • Converting our motor manufacturing industry from fossil fuel to electric and hydro vehicles. 

The government needs to table its proposals at Nedlac as a matter of urgency so that a common and comprehensive set of interventions can be developed with Organised Labour and Business. Lukewarm proposals will not address one of the largest millstones around the economy. A more affordable fuel price regime and a reduced dependence on fuel will protect workers’ wages and enable them to spend more on their families and in the economy. It will help companies reduce their losses and invest in employment creation. 

Issued by COSATU  Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 010 219 1339
Cell: 060 975 6794