With petrol prices expected to climb at the end of the month and a 9% increase in the price of electricity tariffs on the horizon, the cost of living in South Africa is growing.
The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group (PMBEJD) is calling on the government to step in to relieve pressure on households currently struggling with the rising cost of living.
It is estimated that 46% of South Africa’s population benefits from social grants which are managed by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
One of the grants distributed by Sassa is the Child Support Grant.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana recently announced the value of the Child Support Grant will increase to R480 from the current R460 in April 2022. This represents a 4.3% increase.
While an increase in the amount received by the grants recipients will come as a welcomed relief, the grant is simply not enough.
According to the PMBEJD, in February 2022, the food poverty line was also R624 while the average cost to feed a child a basic nutritious diet was R771.95.
The R20 increase will move the Child Support Grant of R480 from 26% below the Food Poverty Line of R624 to 23% below the Food Poverty Line.
The current war in Ukraine may also have an impact on the cost of food items which could make the food poverty line as well the average cost to feed a child a basic nutritious meal higher.
The PMBEJA’s Mervyn Abrahams said, “the conflict in Ukraine will lead to higher fuel prices which will impact heavily on food prices. We will probably see a shortage of wheat and prices have gone up so that will translate into increased bread prices, increased flour prices and possibly as well an increase in cooking oil prices.”
He adds that households are under immense household pressure and somehow the government would have to come on board to assist them.