By Thys Khiba
Pretoria – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) said the rise of fuel and electricity prices will create more hardships for the working class and the poor.
“They are already suffering from record-high levels of unemployment and stagnant or declining wages,” said Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla.
This is after it was announced that motorists should brace themselves as a fuel hike kicked in overnight.
This means that consumers are expected to pay an extra 91 cents a litre of petrol, while the diesel price will increase by 55c/l.
The Automobile Association (AA) informed the public that all fuel types would be more expensive this month when the department of mineral resources and energy (DMRE) led by Minister Gwede Mantashe adjusted fuel prices for August.
“Unleaded petrol 95 cost R14.86 a litre in January, compared to the expected new price of R18.22. A litre of diesel cost R13 in January, compared to the expected August price of R15.56 a litre, while a litre of illuminating paraffin was expected to cost around R9.61 when the price was adjusted for August, compared to its price of R7.39 in January,” said AA spokesperson Layton Beared.
According to Beared, the new increase would mean the price of petrol would have increased nearly 23%in seven months since January, while the price of diesel would have gone up approximately 20%and the price of illuminating paraffin would have increased by approximately 30%.
Meanwhile, the National Energy Regulator has given permission to Eskom’s request to escalate power costs by 15.6%, with no end in sight to the rolling blackouts.
According to the spokesperson for Cosatu, Sizwe Pamla many small businesses might not survive with the increases. COVID-19 lockdown regulations and looting which took place in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal had devastated the two provinces’ economies.
“These higher fuel and electricity prices will worsen an already bad situation,” said Pamla.
“This will retard economic recovery, further weaken workers’ buying power and erode wages in the context of unemployment and wage cuts.”
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