The government will ask food retailers and producers and the transport sector to absorb higher prices in a bid to cushion the impact of fuel price and VAT hikes on consumers, who also face a potential interest rate hike soon. This follows a backlash from civil society this week as petrol prices rose to a record R16 a litre at inland pumps. The bulk of South Africa's crude oil is imported, mostly from Saudi Arabia, making the country vulnerable to world demand-supply dynamics. Added to that is the effect of geopolitical events on the currency such as the trade spat between the US and China, resulting in the government paying more for fuel imports. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the government's intervention on Friday at a breakfast roundtable with business ahead of the Brics summit later this month. He has instructed ministers in the economic cluster to create a package of measures within the next two weeks and "thereafter embark on a programme of engaging with the business sect...

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