The Department of Mineral Resource and Energy (DMRE) has admitted that the petrol price hike was incorrect.

At midnight on Tuesday 30 November, the petrol price was increased by 81 cents a litre for both 93 and 95 Octane petrol. But in a statement the next day on 1 December, the department admitted that this was a mistake.

“The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy regrets to announce that the adjustment of petrol price announced on Monday 29 November was erroneous. While the reasons for the fuel price adjustments remain as communicated, the accurate petrol price for December 2021 will be adjusted as follows -Petrol (ULP & LRP) by seventy-five cents per litre (75.00 c/l) increase.”

The admission was then made that: “The 6 cents difference is due to the fact that the adjustment of wages for service station workers had already been implemented in September 2021.”

The government then admitted that this error was a first for the department: “Although it is for the very first time that such an error has occurred in the history of basic fuel price determination in South Africa, the DMRE profusely apologises for the inconvenience caused.”

Despite the reduced increase, the petrol price remains the highest motorists have ever paid to fill their tank.

Ahead of the price hike, the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) said: “The increases year-on-year since December 2020 are astronomical. Petrol has increased by more than 40%, diesel by around 44%, and illuminating paraffin by more than 70%. Wages and salaries have not kept pace with these heavy increases, and consumers will undoubtedly be under more financial pressure because of the knock-on effects on other products,” notes the AA.”

The statement continued: “These increases are severe and will undoubtedly have major negative implications on already financially constrained consumers. In the last two months alone, petrol has increased by more than R2 a litre, diesel by between R2.21 and R2.23 a litre, and illuminating paraffin by R1.83 a litre.”