Government has to look at long-term interventions to address the rising cost of fuel, Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Thursday.
While welcoming the unchanged fuel price this month as a once-off temporary relief for public transport users, motorists and consumers, Mokonyane said long-term plans must be looked at.
“Going forward, government has to look at interventions that are long-term and previously, the Department of Energy has spoken about those long-term interventions [like] issues of refineries, dealing with reliable, safe and secure public transport and that goes beyond the energy sector,” said the Minister.
Briefing reporters following Cabinet’s meeting, Mokonyane said it is necessary for South Africans not only rely on vehicles as the only mode of transport for going to work.
“They must actually work and live in an area that is within reach so that they can reduce the cost on the poor because they are the ones that are hardest hit. It is those interventions that are much more inclusive that can ease the burden on the end user, as well as on the cost of living,” she said at a media briefing in Pretoria.
On Monday, the Department of Energy (DoE) announced that fuel prices will remain unchanged in September, except for a 4.9 cent a litre increase in the retail margin of petrol. A litre of 95 LRP petrol in Gauteng now costs consumers R16.08.
“Cabinet welcomes the unchanged fuel price for this month as a once-off temporary relief for users of public transport, motorists and consumers, while other measures are being sought by the DoE.
“At a time when the economy is being impacted by global headwinds, Cabinet is pleased that this intervention has no impact on the fiscus, as it uses funds that are already in the fuel-pricing structure,” said Cabinet.
Cabinet said global factors, including the increase of the price of crude oil and the negative sentiment around emerging markets, have led to the cost of fuel rising rapidly in South Africa since April this year.
“Cabinet has expressed concern about increases and the detrimental effects on the general consumer, including amongst others, effects relating to the inflationary impact as producers pass on the increases to the retail sector.”