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It’s official. The price of food has gone up since lockdown began

File picture: David Ritchie / African News Agency / ANA

File picture: David Ritchie / African News Agency / ANA

Published Aug 26, 2020


Durban - With the South African economy still reeling from the impact Covid-19 has wrought on livelihoods, the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group – a non-governmental organisation – released its monthly food price barometer, which showed food prices have gone up.

“The highest food price spikes happened between March and April (5.8% or R187.08), April and May showed lower increases (1.8% or R62.84), May and June, saw a 0.4% or R15.31 increase, and June and July showed a decrease in prices of -2,1% (-R73.09),” the report said.

“Now, however between July and August, prices increased by 17% (R57.85). The upward trend in August suggests that prices are again on the rise.

’’This is very worrying as increases are happening off a high base. We had not expected an upward movement so soon, nor had we expected the increase to be as sharp as it is.”

The report said that the intervention of the government through its top-up of social grants helped, but it was still not enough because it did not absorb all of the food price increases that were happening.

The report also went on to say that if the government withdrew its top-ups too soon, then this would leave South Africans worse-off than they were before Covid-19 struck.

“Whilst South Africa seems to mostly be coming around to the realisation that Covid is not just something that has a short-term time period of economic consequences. Most of us are not yet aware of the depth of the consequences (households are not absorbing the shock of Covid and the lockdown – Covid has broken people; it has broken things), nor that even the extended period of consequences will be much longer then is currently supposed; nor of the magnitude of the changes and socio-economic and socio-political disruptions ahead of us. We are not just going to get out of Covid. This is real and we best wake up to where we are,” the report said.

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