Fuel price hikes leave more than wallets emaciated
An expected third fuel price hike this year is likely to take a toll in our lunch boxes and on our supper tables
With another crippling fuel hike predicted for June, struggling South Africans are likely to put less food on the table to cover travelling costs to work.
The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) – an NGO that compiles a monthly food price barometer – has warned that another possible fuel hike would impact directly on South Africa’s nutrition, with people already battling to cope in the wake of VAT and fuel increases this year.
Pacsa’s warning comes in the wake of the Automobile Association predicting another massive hike in fuel prices next month.A litre of 93 octane unleaded petrol (inland) currently costs R14.72. This is 23 cents more than the previous record high of R14.49 in December last year.
Meanwhile‚ diesel has increased by between 58 and 59c per litre‚ while the wholesale price of illuminating paraffin rose by 52c/l.
Pacsa’s food price barometer shows a more than R250 increase from September last year to April this year.
“Since September 2017 the Pacsa food basket increased by R258.29 from R2,885.73 in September 2017 to R3,144.02 in April 2018,” said Pacsa’s Julie Smith.
According to the AA, unaudited mid-month fuel price data, released by the Central Energy Fund, points to “another massive fuel price hike ... at the end of May”.
“South African fuel users are currently facing increases of 74c a litre for petrol, 81c for diesel and 78c for paraffin.”
AA spokesperson Layton Beard expressed concern about the impact of the possible price hikes on the economy, adding that fuel price increases raised the cost of doing business “and companies have few options but to pass these costs on to consumers”.Smith said households were already under “enormous pressure” and could unlikely afford more food and fuel price increases.
“Any additional stress is not going to be absorbed through savings – as workers are not paid enough.
“It is going to be absorbed through cutting back further on food, which is one of the few expenses households can control.”
Pacsa found that transport costs are prioritised before food in household budgets leaving less money to spend on essential groceries.
“Nutrition is the core of all our developmental outcomes – health and education and the economy. The fuel and crude oil hikes will directly impact on nutrition – on our health and wellbeing and will undermine all our developmental outcomes,” Smith said.