Trucks block SA road to Mozambique as fuel costs surge

Police in Mbombela, the Mpumalanga provincial capital, are trying to remove the trucks after drivers parked their vehicles and left with the keys, Selvy Mohlala, said.
Image: Bloomberg

Protesters in a city in South Africa’s north east blocked roads including a highway linking the country to Mozambique with trucks Wednesday morning as they demonstrated against fuel prices rising to a new record.

The road between Mbombela, 350 kilometers (220 miles) east of Johannesburg, and White River has been obstructed by parked trucks, as is the N4 highway connecting the city to the border with Mozambique and the port of Maputo, Callum MacPherson, regional operations manager at Hi-Tech Security Nelspruit, said by phone. There is also a group of protesters moving around the blockades, he said.

Gasoline and diesel prices in South Africa surged to a fresh all-time high Wednesday on rising oil costs and as the government trimmed a temporary reduction in a fuel levy. Fuel has a weighting of almost 5% in South Africa’s consumer price basket and the increases will place further pressure on household finances and inflation.

Police in Mbombela, the Mpumalanga provincial capital, are trying to remove the trucks after drivers parked their vehicles and left with the keys, Selvy Mohlala, provincial spokesman for the South African Police Service, said by phone. Police are trying to redirect traffic to areas where there are no protests, he said.

The protests follow a strike by bus drivers in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, on Monday after diesel prices were increased by 11% and gasoline by 4.4%. The action ended after the government pledged to subsidise some fares.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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