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Government's milking cows might soon dry up

Enough is enough

Motorists are in for yet another petrol price hike as the department of minerals and energy is expected to announce another rise of 28c per litre next week.

It's the fifth increase this year, during which the price had already rocketed beyond a record R11 per litre.

In January, petrol cost about R10,31 a litre. Motorists at the coast now pay R11,59 a litre for 95 octane and R11,56 for 93 octane.

Economist Mike Schussler said that not only would this add insult to injury for household budgets, but it would be bad for the country's economic performance as a whole.

"Consider that consumer spending went up by 7,2 percent over the past year. Couple this with the fact that there was only a 2,4 percent growth in the manufacturing industry and that mining output is the lowest in 51 years.

"It's clear that consumers have been driving the economy of late."

Couple this situation with the current alarming spike in the rate of unsecured lending by ordinary workers and consumers, to fund primarily consumption, and it tells a story of consumers who are nearing the end of what they can afford. Already nearly half of borrowers, many owing 75c out of the rand, cannot repay their debts and over 6 000 South Africans apply for debt counselling every month.

Government should wake up to the fact that the burden on their milking cows is growing by the day and that tolling our roads, spiralling water tariffs, electricity (the price of electricity, which will rise with 16,9% for Eskom power users will also come into effect this month, with municipal power consumers following on 1 June)  and other administered prices together with the price of fuel is gradually lowering the morale of ordinary citizens and it might not be long before they say "enough is enough, we can take no more" and then start with public resistance.

UASA says desperate time calls for desperate measures. It urges its members and the average South African to tighten their belts and avoid any form of lending and credit. Exercise financial discipline and learn how to budget. Spend only in accordance with your personal budget. Now, more than ever, is the time to live responsibly and limit debt levels to what is really necessary.