By Tauhierah Salie
Measures to mitigate the high fuel price for the months of April and May are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.
Speaking during a Parliamentary question-and-answer session with the economic cluster ministers on Wednesday, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said the matter is being given urgent attention.
It comes amid discussions between various governmental departments, over how best to navigate the impact of the Russia and Ukraine conflict. By Thursday, reports pointed to increased tensions between the two countries- with Russia facing greater sanctions by Western nations, while disputing the victim-narrative portrayed by media and Ukraine calling for international protests to end the invasion.
The February conquest has destabilized the global market and raised world-wide food security and energy concerns. Petrol and oil costs spiked worldwide, and South Africa braced itself for the worst.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy had, on Tuesday, warned of increases of R2/litre over the coming period. Data from the Central Energy Fund pointed to a petrol price hike of between R1.85 and R1.93/lite in April, with diesel predicted to be hardest hit with a spike of up to R3/litre.
Analysts predict a severe impact on South Africa’s households- particularly the poor- as the consequent prices of goods also expected to rise. South Africa’s latest inflation figures indicate a 5.7% increase in the consumer price index (CPI). Economist have warned citizens to keep an eye on rising inflation and interest rate hikes.
Godongwana said that the latest intervention would likely be temporary. National Treasury and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) are likewise considering longer-term options to help alleviate fuel prices.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy went as far as to suggest government encourage people to work from home and to consider fuel rationing in the near future.
Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that government would be reviewing the methodology of the basic fuel price and other regulations to help reduce the cost of petrol in the country. This potentially includes the introduction of fuel limits.
Godongwana did not specify what exact measures would be introduced as the discussions are private and still ongoing.
The AA has meanwhile urged government to assess and amend its influence in fuel levies to reduce effect on consumers.