Government still ‘debating’ extension of fuel price relief measures

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele has said the government is still debating the extension of fuel price relief measures. This comes as South Africans brace for steep fuel hikes next week, as per data from the Central Energy Fund, that could see record prices of R25 a litre.  

During a post-cabinet media briefing earlier this week, Gungubele said he was awaiting further instructions from Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe.   

Gungubele said the government was “very happy” that it was able to “protect motorists” through its temporary fuel levy reprieve, which ends this month. 

“I have no doubt that soon the minister of finance will guide us on the trends and what measures can possibly be put in place, maybe to help us stay afloat on that matter,” he said. 

It remains unclear when a decision will be taken. 

In March, Mantashe announced a temporary reprieve in the fuel levy of R1.50. 

Godongwana had said the measure was taken in light of the recovering economy. 

“By refraining from including an inflationary increase to the fuel levy and Road Accident Fund levy, we managed to provide much-needed relief to South Africans, to the value of R3.5-billion,” he said.  

Should the relief not be extended, motorists are set to pay an additional R3 a litre, at least, for fuel. 

Gungubele also addressed cabinet’s focus on rebuilding KwaZulu-Natal after the added devastation caused by heavy weekend rain, which left a trail of devastation for areas already hard-hit by April’s downpour and subsequent flooding and mudslides. 

More than 400 people were killed as a result of the April floods, with damages to public and private infrastructure tallied at R25-billion, according to the KwaZulu-Natal government, although assessments are still ongoing. 

The weekend downpour resulted in Umdloti, an affluent tourist haven on the North Coast, suffering severe damage. The village’s water works was washed out and several blocks of upmarket flats crumbled under the weight of mudslides. No deaths were recorded, although several of the multi-million rand properties affected are likely to be condemned. 

Gungubele confirmed that temporary homes had been established in the province for those affected by the April and May flooding, and that the office of the auditor general would be overseeing disbursement of funds for restoration and rebuilding contracts. 

“Cabinet affirmed government’s commitment to managing the flood relief funds prudently and transparently,” he said.

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