A Cape Town comedian, Alfred Adriaan, has made an impassioned plea to President Cyril Ramaphosa to listen to ordinary South Africans and take action against the out-of-control cost of living crisis.
Taking to his TikTok account, Adriaan, who has built a massive audience following his very successful comedy shows, has eloquently and passionately highlighted how working class South Africans - many of them educated with degrees - are under at the pump and are battling to make ends meet.
On the brink of tears, Adriaan said: “Dear Mr President, Mr Ramaphosa, with all the respect I can muster in my heart I need to tell you something. We are struggling.
“Every time, this time of the month, my wife and I, we have a discussion about what needs to be paid. Now, mind you, me and my wife have worked really hard not to have any credit card debt or short term loan debt. And we have no car debt. We paid those things off.”
Adriaan explained that both he and his wife have businesses and they should be doing okay.
“I should be doing fairly well, but I'm not. I’m not, because life has become so unbearably heavy and expensive. My child goes to a private school because the public schools in the area are just not up to scratch and I want him to have opportunities and options in life. I have a second child. He's a baby of three-months-old. My wife buys things. She's got a business where she sells clothing, second-hand clothing, for the lack of a better word. She likes to call it pre-loved things. So we get pre-loved prams. My wife goes out and buys second-hand stuff wherever she can,” he said.
But despite them earning a “good salary”, at the end of each month he says he is “panic stricken”.
“I'm a working class South African struggling and worried about what would happen if I didn't make an income? If I cracked an ankle, if I couldn't work, God forbid, I was in hospital.
“By the way, our biggest expense is on medical aid because we can't go to government hospitals. Because the truth is, I've lost family members in there, who went in for one thing and died of something completely unrelated. Every day South Africans always say it tough right now, it's tough right now. But we really need your help.”
He added: “We need you to come to the party for us. We are struggling, man. Working class people. We are panicking because every month we barely go, we can barely make these bills. I have no debt. I've got a moderately sized house compared to my friend circle. I don't know how my friends do it with bigger houses and bigger bonds.
“Those bonds, those interest rates just this year, for many people have gone up by thousands of rands that they could not afford. I see people all the time that have great jobs, degreed people ... I’m a BCom grad, all my friends, most of them are degreed people, and they are barely making it every month or not making it and smiling because they don't want to be the person that looks like they're the only one struggling, but we are struggling out here. (We are) barely making ends meet, as they say.”
Adriaan said that when the president makes his State of the Nation address or when national budgets are being decided, it must take into consideration how ordinary people are struggling.
“South Africans are having a terrible time and if we as the working class are struggling, what about the people that aren't making any money? What's going on there? I don't know. Our expenses on food and petrol have gone through the roof. I don't know if you really know what's happening with us,” he said.
Adriaan invited the president to one of his shows or to Mitchells Plain to talk to ordinary South Africans and hear their plight.
“Let us tell you what's happening with us and how hard it is … we need you to know how we are struggling and we need a plan to get out of this because it can't go on.”
@alfredadriaan Dear Mr President Please note I will delete any nasty comments on this post. Please do not use this post to be abusive to the President or Government. I just want to know if the president knows we are struggling?#southafrica ♬ original sound - Alfred Adriaan
On Friday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) held a cost of living protest outside the office of Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana.
DA MP, Dion George called on the government to remove the VAT on more food items in an effort to put more food on the table.
According to the DA, 12 million people in South Africa go to bed hungry every night and 41% of households struggle to put enough food on the table.
According to the South African Reward Association, South Africans are among the most indebted people in the world, with as much as 73% of disposable household income servicing debt repayments.
With inflation increasing to 5.4% in August, there are fears the Reserve Bank could hit South Africans with another interest rate hike at its next monetary policy committee meeting.
Seeff Property Group chairman, Samuel Seeff said: “A further rate hike at this stage – even just a speculated 0.25% hike –would have a negative impact on already overburdened consumers, the economy, and property market.
“The inflation volatility is not due to consumer spending in the economy, but imported factors such as fuel and other costs hikes, and the continued weak confidence in the economy. These are beyond the control of consumers and home buyers who are essentially being punished.”