Petrol price increase likely to devastate consumers

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Zodidi Mhlana

JOHANNESBURG- The latest petrol price increase will have a devastating impact on hard-pressed consumers, experts have warned.

Neil Roets, CEO of Debt Rescue on Monday said that while the cost of living had gone up as prices for services such as electricity, water and sewage had been increased. Energy Department announced that a liter of petrol will increase by between 23c and 26c from this Wednesday.

“All these price increases will have a devastating impact on consumers because the situation currently is that consumers are struggling with their debt and the reality is that we have all these price increases and the salaries of the consumers are not going up in line with all these price increases,” he said.

Roets said that the petrol price will also affect food and taxi fare prices.

“Now the important thing is that when you do see all these petrol price increases, for instance, they don’t affect consumers directly when they put petrol into their cars, it also affects them indirectly, with the prices of other goods will also go up in line with the petrol price increase. We must also remember that most of the goods in South Africa are transported by roads. If a diesel price goes up, then it affects the prices of all goods and with regards to the petrol price, it affects the prices of other services like taxi fares. Who will feel this, obviously the poorest of the poor will be hit the hardest. It’s bad news for South Africa,” he said.

He said that Debt Rescue had seen an increase in the number of consumers seeking debt counseling.

“We’ve seen an increase of people coming in to apply for debt counseling and the main reason for that is these price increases and people can’t anymore to pay for all their living expenses. We are lucky in the sense that we have this legislation in South Africa where we can help people to pay off their debt in an affordable manner without them parting ways with their assets. The sad thing is that not enough people in the country know about this legislation,” he said.

Consumers have been urged to be careful with their budgeting.

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