Independent Online

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Under pressure: Calamitous times for families under financial distress

A Cape Town family is struggling to stay afloat. File Picture

A Cape Town family is struggling to stay afloat. File Picture

Published Aug 4, 2022


Cape Town – “I don’t know how we’re going to survive any more increases,” says a mother of two from Cape Town as a continuous rise in inflation, food costs and fuel prices cripple ordinary South Africans.

Jamie and John Petersen* both 38 from Milnerton have been married for five years and the pair claim had it not been for their marriage and double income, they would be starving.

Story continues below Advertisement

Jamie works for a call centre on a commission basis while John works in the private security sector.

The couple has two children, and one of them needs regular doctor visits and medication due to a renal defect.

“My youngest son is in daycare, and as prices went up, so did the costs of daycare. My older son, who attends primary school has a kidney problem and we had to give up ‘luxuries’ such as eating out, buying anything new, and cancelling our insurance to ensure we have extra money for his medication.

“The medical aid we have doesn’t really cover all costs and there are very spur-of-the-moment times when we need urgent medication,” Jamie explains.

The mother said while she is grateful she can work from home, the family has had to invest in another ‘luxury’ - fibre connection.

“The way I get heart palpitations every time I see a news article or hear on the news things are increasing again. Many times I go into one of the spaces alone and cry because I am worried about my family.

Story continues below Advertisement

“What will happen to us the day we can no longer afford everything?

“Everything continues to rise except our salaries. It’s like companies are not seeing their worker bees working themselves to death.

“Many times I feel like dying would be the best option because my parents have a policy for me. I know, it is selfish, but, it has gotten so bad that these are my thoughts to keep my family healthy and fed,” she cries.

Story continues below Advertisement


NAME: Jamie and John Petersen

OCCUPATION: Call centre consultant - security guard

Story continues below Advertisement

AGE: 38

AREA: Cape Town


Combined Income: R15 000


Loans: None

Groceries: R2 500

Transport: R400

Bond/Rent: R5 000

Rates, Taxes, Levies: None

Electricity: R600

Insurance: None

Medical Aid: R2 500

Clothing: None

Entertainment : None

Eating out: None

Child care: R1 200

School fees: R450

Data/Fibre: R500

Telephone/Cell: R200

Prepaid Water: R500

As the man of the house, John said there has been times he has resorted to lending money to ensure he had met the needs of everyone in the households.

“That may be our budget for groceries but one day we got to the shop and all of a sudden a bread. A simple bread costs R20.

“Things to add to this budget is daily lunch which has to be put in for three and I know for a fact many times my wife will not eat so we can have enough.

“I fear for what this is doing to my household. The every increasing prices is having a strain on my marriage.

“My children, who were use to living a lifestyle can no longer have the many good things we once shared.

“Life has become depressing,” John told IOL.

On Wednesday, the price of both grades of petrol decreased by R1.32 a litre, bringing the price of 95 Unleaded down to R24.77 at the coast and R25.42 in the inland regions, where 93 Unleaded will cost R24.99. 50ppm diesel went down by 91 cents a litre, while the dirtier 500ppm saw a reduction of 88 cents.

While this may bring some relief to many, it brings little to no joy to households like the Petersens.

The Petersen family is just one of thousands of South African families who are under pressure financially and have spoken to IOL as part of the series.

** Names have been changed for privacy.

[email protected]