The government needs to cushion the economy from record fuel prices.

The rise in the price of petrol by 51 cents a litre and diesel by a massive R1.44 per litre will suffocate an already ailing economy and overwhelm the struggling workers and consumers. The economy has been stagnant for a decade and is limping from persistent loadshedding and rampant cable theft.  South African workers are highly indebted and are struggling to cope with rising food, electricity, and transport costs.

This calls for an urgent government action to cushion the economy from these record fuel prices. In September 2018, the then Ministers for Energy made a public commitment that the fuel price would be reviewed to ease the pressures on commuters and the economy.  A similar commitment was made in April 2022 by the current Ministers for Finance and Mineral Resources and Energy. 

While there is nothing that the government can do about the ever-volatile international oil prices, we believe that it can do something about the 32% taxes that consumers pay for fuel.  The government needs to provide relief for commuters and the economy and reduce the taxes it collects on fuel.

The rapidly deteriorating situation at the Road Accident Fund and its ballooning R400 billion liabilities cannot be left unattended. The RAF needs to be put on a sustainable financial path and the Department of Transport must re-submit the Road Accident Fund and Road Accident Benefits Scheme Bills in Parliament.  This needs to happen by February 2023 if these bills are to be enacted into law before the 2024 elections.

Transnet and Metrorail need to be assisted financially and law enforcement institutions must secure and rebuild the railway network.  These are key to shielding food and commuters from fuel price hikes.  Equally more must be done to invest in public transport to give workers alternatives to driving to work.

What the country cannot afford is for government to continue to sit on its hands whilst workers’ meagres wages and businesses dwindling reserves are bled dry by record high fuel prices.

Issued by COSATU   

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794