Following the African National Congress’s statement pleading with the government to ease fuel levies and taxes, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has addressed the issue of petrol prices at the Union Buildings on Thursday.
Ramaphosa’s political party requested an increase in petrol reserves, freezing or decreasing the fuel levy, and stabilising governance and finances at the Road Accident Fund, PetroSA and Central Energy Fund.
This impassioned plea comes following record high fuel hikes, with another rise in price expected next month. South Africans are now paying over R16 per liter following a 26c hike this week.
Read: Petrol price: SA group warns of national shutdown over increases
Amid threats of a national shutdown surrounding unaffordable fuel, President Ramaphosa addressed journalists outside the Union Buildings on Thursday, BusinessTech reports.
“We, as a government, are busy at the moment looking at the impact of these price increases with regards to petrol and we are actively looking at ways in which we can find some solutions.”
‘Solutions are not going to be easy to find’ – Ramaphosa
President Ramaphosa pointed to international oil prices as the main culprit for record high fuel hikes. He indicated that as South Africans we are at the mercy of the rand/dollar exchange rate and international crude prices, as we import our energy source.
Read: Remembering the time SA secretly sold 10 million barrels of crude oil
He elaborated on the problems facing the country’s consumers:
“South Africa is in the unfortunate position in that we import our energy resource, which is oil. We are price takers, we don’t make the price and we are therefore vulnerable in that regard.”
Petrol price: President Ramaphosa calls for calm
The president was adamant that an increase in petrol prices should not necessarily impact negatively on living expenses of the average South African.
He implored retailers to hold back on price increases relating to food and other common consumer goods.
His call to retailers and consumers:
“All we can say is; those who may be thinking – particularly retailers – of increasing prices, to hold back and not increase prices of food stuff and other products that our people use.
This fuel price should not automatically lead to the increased living conditions for our people.”
The president mentioned that he is currently in talks with Ghanaian president, Nana Akufo-Addo, while the latter is on his first official state visit to South Africa.
According to Ramaphosa, the two countries have agreed to engage on the issue of energy, with possible a possible import/export deal on the table.