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Increased fuel prices will break workers financially

Statement by Andre Venter, spokesperson of the trade union UASA: 

South Africa’s workers cannot afford the price of all grades of petrol that will increase by 67c/l with effect from midnight tomorrow. The price of diesel, both 0.05% sulphur and 0.005% sulphur, will at the same time increase by 44.00c/l

Workers are financially burdened to the point of drowning in debt and increasing expenses. Our economy is weak, demand for credit is low, millions are unemployed, personal taxes are up. South Africa is in a recession.

A fuel price increase of 67 cents a litre will represent a multiple and unaffordable blow to everyday South Africans: It will lead to higher prices of consumer goods and make it even more expensive for workers to get to work and back.

South Africa's total consumer debt stands at an immense R1.71 trillion, according to the National Credit Regulator. The World Bank has us pegged as one of the most indebted countries in the world.

A higher fuel price will add to our woes considerably. Increasing the pressure on workers’ wallets is not the course to take towards stimulating the economy.

The department said the main reasons for the fuel price adjustments were that the rand depreciated, on average, against the US dollar during the period under review, and that the international prices of petroleum products increased on average during the same time.