President Cyril Ramaphosa has eluded to the possibility of government looking into finding a solution to the escalating fuel costs. Petrol increased yet again on Wednesday morning, which has a domino effect on food and transport prices.
Fuel prices increased in June by 82c, again in July by 26c and there is a possibility of yet another increase in August.
During an address at the Union Buildings on Thursday, Ramaphosa said government understands the impact of the rising costs and is actively looking for ways to find a solution.
“Solutions are not going to be easy to find. We feel for our people and we are going to be working to find ways in which we can soften the blow and ameliorate this difficulty that our people are facing,” said Ramaphosa.
Fuel and oil increased due to the weak rand and fluctuating exchange rates. The President said the price of fuel is not within governments control, but that alternative arenas are being looked at. “South Africa is in the unfortunate position in that we import our energy resource, which is oil. We are price takers, we don’t make the price and we are therefore vulnerable in that regard.”
He urged businesses not to increase prices until a solution is found. “All we can say is; those who may be thinking – particularly retailers – of increasing prices, to hold back and not increase prices of food stuff and other products that our people use.”
Government is also trying to establish energy trade relations with neighbouring African countries, in the hope of reducing the cost of imports with petrol, oil and paraffin. Ramaphosa said there are energy trade discussions underway with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo’s on his first state visit to South Africa.
Ghana and South Africa have engaged in discussions around a possible energy exchange.