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By Citizen Reporter


Petrol price hikes: Cosatu calls on govt to find sustainable solutions

Cosatu says the reduction in the general fuel levy will not be enough to shield commuters from the painful increases in the fuel price.

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is dismayed by the absence of sustainable proposals from government on how to protect citizens from hefty petrol price hikes.

Amid a record increase in fuel prices, Cosatu calls on government to come up with sustainable medium and long-term proposals on how to protect workers and the economy from the volatility in international oil prices. 

Petrol price hikes in SA

At midnight on Tuesday, petrol prices went up by between R2.33 and R2.43, while the price of diesel increased by between R1.07 and R1.10 a litre.

This was despite government extending the temporary reduction in the general fuel levy by R1.50 per litre until the beginning of July.

The hefty increases in fuel prices have been attributed to the weaker rand against the US dollar and high international oil prices.

Cosatu ‘disappointed’

While Cosatu said it appreciated the extension of the temporary reduction in the general fuel levy, it was disappointed that this would not be enough to shield commuters from the painful increases in the fuel price.

ALSO READ: Massive petrol price hike from 1 June – Here’s how much you’ll pay per litre

The union federation’s spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the increases would further spur inflation and erode 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,” Pamla said in a statement.

Petrol price measures

Cosatu called on government to implement the following measures:

  • A comprehensive review of the fuel price regime to reduce costs because currently half of the fuel price went to taxes;
  • Deregulate the fuel price regime to enable competition to help reduce prices for consumers;
  • Urgent interventions to ensure all Metrorail lines are reopened to help take millions of rail commuters off the roads;
  • Overhauling the Road Accident Fund to address its ballooning R400 billion liabilities, and placing it on a sustainable path where its funds go to road accident victims and not “money-hungry” lawyers;
  • Massive investments in public transport to reduce the number of commuters travelling in private cars; and
  • Converting SA’s motor manufacturing industry from fossil fuel to electric and hydro vehicles.

Cosatu said government should table its proposals at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) as a matter of urgency.

Economic boost

It said this would ensure 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 on the economy.

“It will help companies reduce their losses and invest in employment creation.”

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe.

NOW READ: Government extends temporary reduction in the fuel levy

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