Cape Town – The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice Dignity Group (PMBEJD) has revealed that South Africans are paying nearly R5 000 for a basic food basket, R570 more than a year ago.
The average cost of a basket has increased by R572.64 (13.1%) from R4 335.70 in February 2022 to R4 928.34 in February 2023, revealed the latest household affordability index compiled by the group.
The group said that in February, foods such as maize meal, samp, and butternut, increased by more than 5% while cabbage and spinach, cabbage and oranges increased by 14% to 21%.
Rice, soup, tomatoes, bananas and apples increased by 2% or more.
The index compared food price data from 44 supermarkets and 30 butcheries in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and Springbok in the Northern Cape.
PMBEJD said the average cost to feed a child increased by R92.11 in the past year, now costing R864.06 a month for a basic nutritious diet.
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“Government has decided to increase the child support grant by R20 in April. This is an increase of 4.2%, while consumer price index (CPI) food inflation is 13.8%,” PMBEJD said.
Six months later, government will add R10 to the grant in October.
The group said that at R510, the child support grant will still be 23.1% below the food poverty line of R663 and even lower when updated food poverty lines are issued this year.
“Though this will get worse each month, the R510 off our current February data of the cost to feed a child a proper nutritious diet will come in at 41% short of the R864.06 expenditure required.” PMBEJD said.
PMBEJD called for the R30 to be given in April, instead of being split in April and October.
BusinessTech reported that the food inflation was driven by bread and cereal products, with the annual rate reaching 21.8% in January.
The report said this was higher than the 1.5% recorded in January 2022 which made it the highest since February 2009 (23.8%).
Meanwhile, meat inflation increased to 11.2% in January from December’s 9.7%.
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Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe