Fuel hike to hit working class the hardest

Fuel hike to hit working class. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

Fuel hike to hit working class. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

Published Apr 6, 2024


Following a significant fuel hike this week, trade unions and political parties allege the recent increase coupled with the proposed Eskom tariff increases will hit the working class the hardest.

As of Wednesday, South African motorists were greeted with an increase of 0.65 and 0.67 cents respectively for a litre of 93 and 95 petrol, while diesel 0.05% sulphur would see a R3.22 increase and the 0.005% diesel moving to R1.78.

Positively, illuminating paraffin has decreased by 0.29 cents per litre, with gas going down by 0.19 cents per kilogram.

The increases according to the Central Energy Fund (CEF) came as a result of the increase in the price of Brent crude oil, whilst the recovery of the rand to dollar had accounted for the decreases.

Mametlwe Sebei, President of the General Industries Workers Union Workers Union of South Africa (GIWUSA) said the union was extremely concerned and opposed to fuel price increases, especially given that electricity tariffs were also expected to hike by a whole 12.75%.

Sebei said the fuel price changes were a bitter pill to swallow given that they came a few days shy of a month since the massive fuel price hikes at the beginning of March, meaning motorists would have to dig deeper to afford fuel compared to a month ago.

He explained that while the marginal declines came as a welcome relief, they did not nullify the most recent increases.

“These cents in differentials and changes may seem like small changes to those who enjoy financial stability, but they are worth much in the life of a worker, half of whom are earning a minimum wage of R3800 and as much as 75% subsisting on less than R6000 a month.”

“In a nutshell the ruling capitalist class will use their economic power and dictatorship to offload the full burden of these fuel increases on the shoulders of the working class,” Sebei added.

The Public Servants Association (PSA) similarly raised concerns that the timing of the price hikes was particularly distressing given the recent announcement of a mere 4.7% salary increase for public servants by the Minister of Public Service and Administration.

“This inadequate adjustment fails to keep pace with the rising cost of living, leaving public servants struggling to make ends meet. The PSA demands transparency and accountability from the government regarding these decisions.”

“A commitment is required to address the concerns of public servants who stand in service of citizens. It is unacceptable for them to bear the brunt of economic hardships whilst simultaneously being expected to fulfil crucial roles in delivering essential services.”

The association urged the government to reconsider what it described as ‘unjustified price increases’ and to prioritise the well-being of citizens, including dedicated public servants.

Saturday Star