If you thought the cost of living couldn’t possibly get any worse after the 1% increase in VAT, think again. The price of petrol will go up yet again on Tuesday at midnight and to make matters worse, toll fees right across South Africa have risen by between 6% and 7%.
In April, fuel levies increased by 52 cents a litre, and because of an unstable Rand, fuel will increase once again by 49 cents a litre as of 2 May.
The Automobile Association (AA) said based on these figures, a litre of 93 octane unleaded petrol (inland) – which currently costs R14.23 a litre – will now cost R14.72. This is 23 cents higher than the previous record high of R14.49 in December last year.
“Even with the revised data, these increases are significant and are attributable to a weakening Rand against the US dollar, and increasing international petroleum prices. We remain concerned about the increases, especially those to illuminating paraffin. Users of this fuel will be hit particularly hard as we head into the colder months where many households use this fuel for lighting, heating and cooking,” said the AA.
They have also warned that the depreciation of the Rand the past few days will impact on future fuel prices too.
“Going into May, there is already an under-recover of 46 cents a litre. If the Rand doesn’t appreciate significantly against the US dollar, and if international prices don’t decrease, this will mean another increase into June,” noted the AA.
In another blow, toll fees across South Africa have risen by between six and seven percent. The price hike comes at a time when fuel is touching on record high levels, in part because of the hefty increases to indirect taxes added to fuel prices at the beginning of the month.
The AA is concerned about the financial implications on South Africans. They said the financial weight of all of these increases is not sustainable, especially considering these increases – just as the fuel levy increases earlier – are above inflation. With fewer people receiving increases to their salaries or wages – or receiving inflation-linked increases – these toll hikes are another burden for consumers to bear.