Is it becoming too expensive to live?
25 January 2008
For the past few months South Africans have experienced an increase in food and fuel prices – the latest of which is an increase in the bread price and proposed increases in hospital tariffs. These are clear signs that the cost of living is indeed rising. It would seem as though it’s becoming more and more expensive to live.
One single mother of two teenage daughters and a son, says that she is barely surviving, as the cost of the bare necessities are constantly rising.
“I’m currently working two jobs and doing some part-time work to get in some extra money. The cost of living is so high, it's school fees, stationery and clothes,” the woman, wishing to remain anonymous, told Bush Radio.
An economist at the Bureau for Economic Research, Hugo Pienaar says that the reason we are experiencing these sharp increases is due to the increase in the inflation rate.
“The official inflation rate in South Africa has been picking up for quite some time. And that has mainly been driven by higher international oil prices which has had a negative impact on South Africa’s petrol price and also very sharp increases in not only local, but also international food prices,” says Pienaar.
He says that the food and the transport component within the inflation basket have quite a substantial weighting. Therefore, if those prices go up sharply, then it normally has a negative impact on the overall inflation basket.
The single mother of three says that her financial situation has gotten worse, when compared to about three years ago: “Everything has just gone up in price. I think the more you earn, the more you pay out. Everything that I have to pay for, it is times-three for me. I don’t drive with my car anymore because petrol is so expensive. Now I have to not only think of my daughter’s travelling costs to school and back home, but also my travelling costs for work,” she says, adding that there have been times in the past when her daughter had to stay out of school because the family had no money for public transport.
Economist Pienaar warns that South Africans may still be seeing more increases in the near future.
“Eskom has already announced that in order to fund large infrastructure spending programmes, they going to have to increase electricity tariffs by about 14% this year,” he says. This has disgruntled already angry residents, who are contending with constant, rolling and unpredictable power outages accross the country.