Cost of living crisis continues while government fails to respond

Issued by Dr Dion George MP – DA Shadow Minister of Finance
22 Mar 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dr Dion George MP.

The latest inflation statistics underscore the severe cost of living crisis facing South African households. A year-on-year inflation rate of 7% has been reported, which is a significant increase from the previous month and exceeds the target range established by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

A closer examination of these figures reveals the extent of the crisis. Transportation costs have risen by 9.9%, with fuel prices experiencing a 10.6% increase.

Food prices have seen a staggering 14% hike, with the cost of bread, a fundamental food item, surging by 20.5% within the year.

The ANC government remains detached from the harsh realities of hunger and starvation in the country. Ministers remain shielded from the effects of inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, as millions of rands in taxpayer funds are allocated to cover their water and electricity expenses. This stark contrast highlights the callousness of the ANC government, which has failed to implement economic measures to alleviate the burden of escalating costs and persistent power outages.

A government that cares would: reduce the fuel levy, enhance solar tax rebates to liberate consumers from Eskom’s grasp, and broaden the zero-VAT rated food basket to encompass essential items such as bone-in chicken, beef, tinned beans, wheat flour, margarine, peanut butter, baby food, tea, coffee, and soup powder. VAT on these items disproportionately affects the poorest 50% of South Africans, who are already struggling to provide food for their families. These interventions are easy to implement and easily affordable if government made the right choices in spending the people’s money.

The DA refuses to stand idly by as the government engages in political manoeuvring at the expense of South African citizens. In February, the DA presented our Alternative Budget, replete with practical and effective solutions to enable the government to address the cost-of-living crisis head-on.

The escalating cost of living crisis in South Africa calls for urgent and decisive action from the government. It is high time for the ANC government to set aside political interests and prioritize the welfare of the people. The people of South Africa deserve concrete action, and the DA will not rest until our proposals are implemented to alleviate their hardship.