The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group (PMBEJD) released its September report on poverty lines in South Africa, showing how staple food prices differ in major cities across the country.
The comparison follows 17 staple foods found in the shopping carts of low-income households in South Africa, taken from the shelves of 44 supermarkets and 30 butchers in Joburg, Cape Town and Durban. The North Cape and Pietermaritzburg stores were also tracked.
Data show that the average cost of the household food basket in September 2021 was R 4,219.48. This is an increase of Rand 361.14 (9.4%), compared to Rand 3,856.34 a year ago (September 2020).
This total basket is well above affordability thresholds for low-income families, the group said, noting that the national minimum wage for that same period was R3,643.92.
- The Pietermaritzburg basket (KZN) was R 4,078.30
- The Durban Basket (KZN) was R4 270.96
- The Johannesburg Basket (GP) was R4 242.53
- The Cape Town basket (WC) was R4 106.18
- The Springbok basket (NC) was R4,595.13
While basket prices for Joburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg decreased slightly in September 2021, those for Cape Town and Springbok increased slightly, the PMBEJD said.
âOn the average household food basket for all regions, marginal increases are shown for rice, sample, potatoes, chicken and beef offal, fish, butternut, spinach, sardines, apples, oranges and polony. “
The group said the cost of staple foods prioritized and purchased first by a household remains a concern.
âYear after year, this basket of 17 foods, which should normally be affordable and found in everyone’s house and which includes corn flour, rice, flour, sugar, beans, oil, bread, onions, potatoes, portions of chicken, salt, broth, soup and tea, while decreasing slightly from August 2021 (by -0.6% or R14.08) is still relatively very high. As of September 2021, this basket of basic foods cost 2,278.90 Rand and is 213.19 Rand or 10.3% more than a year ago.
The PMBEJD also warned that South Africa’s high unemployment rate and various subsidies were not keeping up with the rising cost of food.
âOver the past few years we have seen how unemployment has continued to rise. At the same time, inflation on basic goods and services has increased, making it more difficult for families to meet their basic needs.
âDuring this period, the real value of social grants declined. The result is that the food poverty of a very large part of our population has increased. Every year our poverty indices get worse.
The food poverty line is a monetary instrument to measure the cost of a basket of food and whether people can afford it or not. Statistics South Africa updates its food poverty line each year in April based on food inflation figures from the Consumer Price Index.
In April 2021, food price inflation was 6.7%. The food poverty line now stands at Rand 624 per month, an adjustment of Rand 39 (6.7%), up from Rand 585 in April 2020.
“With the new updated food poverty lines of 624 rand per capita per month, the child support grant of 460 rand is now 26% below the food poverty line, and the SRD R350 grant is 44%. % below the food poverty line, âthe group said.
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