'Catastrophic' fuel price hike on the cards‚ protests expected

27 September 2018 - 14:03 By Nonkululeko Njilo
"These increases are catastrophic for road users‚" the AA said in a statement.
"These increases are catastrophic for road users‚" the AA said in a statement.
Image: Theo Jeptha

Brace yourself for another big fuel price hike.

The Automobile Association (AA) warned on Thursday that motorists would face “unprecedented price increases” in October‚ based on unaudited month-end fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund (CEF).

"These increases are catastrophic for road users‚" the AA said in a statement.

"They are the biggest in South African history. The major culprit is South Africa's chaotic economic policy‚ which has left us defenceless against upticks in international oil prices."

With the rand and oil contributing almost equally to the rises‚ petrol is expected to be up by R1.01 per litre and diesel by R1.24. Illuminating paraffin users are also likely to be hit hard by an expected hike of around R1.05.

"Excluding months where fuel taxes were hiked‚ this will be the largest single fuel price increase South Africa has ever experienced‚" the AA warned.

People Against Petrol and Paraffin Price Increases (Pappi) has warned of a “total shutdown” on Friday in Durban‚ in protest at the rising cost of fuel.

“Our nation is now frustrated and we are willing to take to the streets to protest against these unconscionable‚ outrageous and excessive fuel hikes‚” said the group’s national convener Visvin Reddy.

He said that they had not obtained permission to protest and that “the police can come and arrest us - we don’t care”.

“We want to show government that we have had enough with the fuel hikes. I urge the public to stay away from malls‚ work and to not fill up tomorrow because we there will be a total disruption in Durban‚” said Reddy.

The warning came as an internal memorandum from Durban Solid Waste warning staff of the impending shutdown circulated on social media.

However‚ Metro police spokesperson senior superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said he had confirmed with DSW that the message was not issued by the municipal department and was a hoax.

“We have spoke to the people in charge at DSW and they confirmed that the memorandum did not come from them and that it was fake‚” said Sewpersad.

He added that they had not received any notice to strike from Pappi or any other organisation advising them of protest action on Friday.

"We are aware of this information and we have people in place at any time ready to respond‚" Sewpersad said.

Pappi spokesperson Rynel Govender said a ‘full blown’ protest was being planned.

“It’s all systems go for us. We will embark on a protest. I can assure you that we are ready‚ we are mobilising‚” he told TimesLIVE on Thursday.

He declined however to elaborate of what form the protest would take‚ saying details would be announced later.

“The price of a litre of petrol has almost trebled in the past decade and government taxes have increased by 165.35% over this period. We have had seven hikes this year‚ with a massive double digit increase projected for next month‚” he added.

The AA estimated that the expected hike could extract a further R2.5bn a month in transport costs from the economy.