Bills Cape Town Johannesburg Durban

Photo: Flickr / TSA Composite

Cape Town vs Joburg vs Durban: Here’s where you pay the most for your bills

We’re looking at the average cost of bills in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban to determine who has it best. The Mother City has some growing up to do.

Bills Cape Town Johannesburg Durban

Photo: Flickr / TSA Composite

Whether you are based in Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban, you can’t match that feeling you get on payday: For a few hours, you get to feel like there’s not a care in the world. Whether you treat yourself to a hard-earned pint, or something ever-so-indulgent from a takeaway app, there’s no stopping us. Then, from nowhere, the debit orders hit.

In a bit, money. See you next month, abundant funds. Catch you later, cash we were hoping to spend on some new threads. It’s fine, honestly… we’d rather see the huge price of rent swallow you whole, anyway.

Cape Town vs Johannesburg vs Durban – who spends the most on their bills?

Living in the city can be a relentless mission. When you’ve got responsibilities, it’s tough to keep it all together. We’ve decided to take a quick look at which bills hit harder in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban – South Africa’s three biggest cities.

Numbeo, a user-generated data record, has recently updated its site for October 2019 – with some eye-opening results. Featuring over 1 000 entries submitted to the site, it would appear Johannesburg has reclaimed its throne as the city which offers the highest wages. But who is the most cost-effective? Let’s find out:

Cape Town vs Johannesburg vs Durban – bills and affordability:

CityCape TownJohannesburgDurban
Average utility bills
(electricity, water etc)
R1 049R 1 254R1 143
Monthly cost for internet
connection and data usage
R1 002R961R901
Accommodation (one-bed
property, average monthly fees)
R11 729
(R5 684 between two)
R6 908
(R3 454 between two)
R4 796
(R2 398 between two)
Average salary per monthR17 405R17 914R14 958
Percentage of wages spent on bills
(low vs high estimates)
44% – 79%32% – 51%30% – 45%

Cape Town’s costly, Joburg’s justifiably priced, Durban’s dirt cheap:

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Cape Town proves to be the most expensive in two major departments – internet usage and rental payments. Leasing in the Mother City comes with an infamous reputation, as the cost to live in the city centre proves astronomical when compared to other SA cities.

Based on two people sharing a flat, city-slicking Capetonians can get away with spending around 44% of their wages on basic amenities. However, those going at it alone in the south-west may find themselves spending four-fifths of their salary on simply keeping a roof above their heads.

Cape Town’s lowest price range proves to be almost identical to Durban’s highest income-expenditure percentage. Rent can be extremely affordable in KZN’s largest city, but the prices are offset by the average monthly wage – it’s considerably less than what Cape Town or Johannesburg has to offer.

Pros and cons of city living

Although rent goes up in Johannesburg when compared to Durban, you can earn almost R3 000 more per month in the Gauteng metropolis. The amount of money you spend on your bills is fairly similar, considering that you’re likely to have a bit more cash in the bank.

On this issue, Cape Town does have one saving grace: Utility bills are cheaper here than in its two competing cities. Still, what’s R200 saved on electricity when you’re paying five-figures for a rental property?