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Tanks running dry, petrol increase and e-tolling.Will this ever end?

This means that the pump price for 95 grade petrol will rise from R10.18 to R10.54, while diesel increases 3.8 percent to R9.65.

The energy department claims that the increase is partly due to the weakening of the range against the American dollar during the month of September.

Spokesperson for the Uasa trade union, Andre Venter, says the knock-on effect will be painful for the economy: “A price increase of this magnitude will have a definitive impact on inflation, which is already on the rise, and will push up the production price index even further.

“Consumers would have less money to spend, leading to a further decline in the demand for consumer goods. This will in turn have a ‘cascading effect’ on job losses.

“We can only hope that our currency will stabilise, which could mean a lower fuel price towards the end of 2011,” Venter concluded.

With the e-toll saga heavily breathing on our necks, this would cripple the economy.

Meanwhile, as striking truck drivers marched in Joburg on Tuesday to deliver a memorandum of grievances, the impact of the strike was being felt worse in some industries than others in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Banking Association said it had not received any reports of major disruptions in cash supply for ATMs.

The association’s Luyanda Tetyana said that “the strike has had minimal impact on ATMs across the country” and that cash stocks were under control.

“The banks have contingency plans in place and have been proactively restocking ATMs.”

FNB and Standard Bank spokesmen echoed Tetyana’s sentiments, saying they had experienced minimal disruptions.

The petrol industry, however, was feeling the pinch, with reports of stations waiting longer for fuel, and many close to running dry.

Fani Tshifularo, chairman of the SA Petroleum Industry Association, said yesterday the impact of the strike was now being felt by garage owners.

“We have started to notice a delay in petrol being delivered to stations and there have been reports of shortages,” he said, warning that these incidents would increase as the strike continued.

“The situation tomorrow will be worse than the situation today, and we are expecting stations to start running dry.”

Also feeling the adverse effect of the stayaway by drivers was the local construction industry, with reports of shortages in building materials, as site deliveries took a knock.

Commenting on the strike, Group Five KZN managing director Craig Jessop said: “It is adversely affecting the supply of rebar [steel] and bitumen, and there has definitely been a shortage of concrete.”

As certain sectors felt a shortage in goods, some truck drivers were feeling much more violent repercussions.

Two cases of arson were being investigated in the Eastern Cape, police said on Tuesday, after trucks were set alight by unknown assailants, while in Cape Town a truck overturned after being hit with stones while travelling on the N2.

Police, however, said that they did not think the stone-throwing was linked to the strike.

In Soweto, certain petrol garages also felt the effect of striking truck drivers following the non-delivery of petrol at stations since Monday. Irate motorists were advised to go to other stations nearby Soweto to fill their tanks.

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