Less than two weeks before what is set to be the most competitive election of the democratic era, SA’s consumers will be hit by the second-highest fuel prices on record, a little more than 2% off records reached in late 2018. The price of a litre of unleaded 95 octane petrol would jump 54c to R16.67 on Wednesday, the Central Energy Fund said, citing higher international fuel prices, which countered gains by the rand in the review period between March 29 and April 25. Prices jumped to R17.08 in October 2018. Hikes in 2018 sparked a populist backlash, with opposition parties and the ANC calling for a freeze on the fuel levy. After seven consecutive months of increases, the government relented and "urgently" intervened in setting prices in September for the first time since the early 2000s. Such a move so close to the polls would be highly controversial. Analysts said a weak rand, which raises the price of imported goods including oil, combined with higher oil prices, meant there would...

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