workers Food prices of 12 basic items cheaper at Checkers

SA workers are under pressure due to rising food and transport costs. Picture: Supplied/JustMoney

Now SA households struggle with soaring food prices

Many people are battling to feed their families as food prices increase and wages remain cut or non-existent due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

workers Food prices of 12 basic items cheaper at Checkers

SA workers are under pressure due to rising food and transport costs. Picture: Supplied/JustMoney

South Africa’s food prices remain high as the country enters the third wave of Covid-19, the latest Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group Household Affordability Index survey has revealed. 

The advocacy group has called on the government to reinstate the Covid-19 Relief of Distress special grant and to reinstate the social security grant top-up payments.

“Over the past 10 months the cost of the average Household Food Basket has increased by 7,1% or R271,90 to R4 128,23 in June 2021.  Mothers tell us that high food prices have hollowed out proper nutrition on the family plate,” Programme Coordinator Mervyn Abrahams said.

 “This has removed an important line of defence against Covid-19 and other common illnesses and children and women are more vulnerable to disease.   It is likely that the long queues of hungry people that we saw in

the first and second waves requiring food support will again come to pass because the state has taken away all income support, wages have not gone up, unemployment levels remain untenably high, jobs continue to be lost and food prices have gone up,” he said.

Abrahams said that  at the very least the government should reinstate the support that was given in the first and second waves and bring back the top ups to the grants and the Covid-19 special relief grant.

The group’s June 2021 Household Affordability Index, tracked food price data from 44 supermarkets and 30 butcheries, in Johannesburg (Soweto, Alexandra, Tembisa and Hillbrow), Durban (KwaMashu, Umlazi, Isipingo, Durban CBD and Mtubatuba), Cape Town (Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Philippi, Langa, Delft and

Dunoon), Pietermaritzburg and Springbok (in the Northern Cape).

According to the latest survey:

* In June 2021: The average cost of the Household Food Basket was R4128,23.

* Month-on-month (between May 2021 and June 2021): The average cost of

the Household Food Basket decreased by R8,88 (-0,2%).

*  Over the past ten months between September 2020and June 2021 the average cost of the

household food basket increased by R271,90 (7,1%), from R3 856,34 in September 2020 to R4 128,23 in June 2021.

“Over the last month we have seen that maize meal, rice and flour have come down.  Cooking oil prices continue to be high, as are sugar prices and sugar beans,” he said.

 All fruits and vegetables except potatoes and onions had come down in price. This is probably because potatoes and onions are typically sourced in the Free State during the winter months.  All meat prices had gone up, which was  a typical trend during the winter months when feed costs and energy costs increase. The price of margarine had also risked and the price of polony had also spiked.

“All Household Food Baskets except the Joburg Household Food Basket came down very marginally in June and bring no relief to struggling households.

High food prices continue to hurt low-income families and remove nutritious food off the plate whilst making families, particularly women, because women eat last and sacrifice their nutrition for their families, and children more vulnerable to disease,” he said.