The African National Congress notes with deep concern the continued weakening of the rand and the implications this have for our country’s growth prospect including the management of inflation target. We are further concerned by the hikes in petrol cost which is now at its highest level ever and is putting a squeeze on all aspects of life of fellow South Africans.
Fuel hikes impact directly on the lives of the poor as the monopolistic food outlets pass to the poor the rises in transport costs. The energy cost also increases. The rate at which these cost increases are happening is unbearable and we cannot turn a blind eye nor to wish them away. We need to take strong action to arrest this situation.
Though we accept that the rand depreciation is beyond our control and is fueled largely by US trade wars, selling-of assets in emerging markets, portfolio outflows. We also accept that the fuel price increases is inevitable due to global crude oil prices increases. We however call on the US to consider the unintended consequences of its trade war and the ripple effects its imposition of sanctions on some oil producing countries have on the emerging economies. We also join the call on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to help lower fuel prices by increasing oil production.
We believe there is more that could be done to reignite and accelerate economic growth, and to soften or lessen the effect petrol price increases have on our people and on the economy. We must do more to address structural problems facing our economy, increase foreign exports and investor confidence.
The ANC led government must mitigate the short and long term effects the fuel price hikes have on South Africans and our economy. We call on our government to increase our petrol reserves, seriously consider freezing or decreasing the fuel levy, and to further stabilise governances and finances in Road Accident Fund, PetroSA and Central Energy Fund.
We must continue to work tirelessly for accelerated and radical socio-economic transformation and shared prosperity for all our people. Our fight against corruption must deepen, but so must a conscious fight be taken on the rising cost of living.