South Africa: Nearly Half of South Africans Can't Afford Basics - Survey - South African News Briefs - April 24, 2024

24 April 2024


Nearly Half of South Africans Can't Afford Basics - Survey

South Africans are squeezed by a surging cost of living, especially food prices, reports IOL. A 2023 FinScope Consumer South Africa survey reveals they spend over a third (30.4%) of their income on groceries alone. Basic necessities like groceries, energy, transportation, and communication devour a staggering 85% of monthly income. Rising costs, according to a March 2023 Credit Bureau Monitor report, limit access to education, and insurance, and make it harder to repay debt. The recent 12.74% hike in Eskom's electricity tariffs adds further strain, especially for those already struggling to afford essentials. Compounding these challenges, a lack of retirement plans for 86% of working-age adults, as highlighted by the survey, shows immediate needs trumping future savings for many South Africans.

Jacob Zuma's Health Sparks Concern as Campaigns Halt

Concerns have arisen regarding the health of former South African President Jacob Zuma after he collapsed, prompting the suspension of his campaign activities for the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party, reports  Amanda Khoza and Qaanitah Hunter in an exclusive News24 report. Reports suggest that Zuma's recent health issues, including fatigue and low blood pressure, have raised alarm among doctors and his security team. Despite his absence from recent court appearances and campaign events, the party spokesperson denies any health concerns, attributing Zuma's absence to prior commitments and the need for rest before extensive travel. While sources indicate Zuma's recovery from the fall, citing fatigue as a contributing factor, there are ongoing allegations of poisoning and recurring health issues. Some speculate that Zuma's significance to the MK Party lies primarily in his brand recognition, with concerns raised about the party's future beyond the elections.

Illegal Cigarette Trade Surges in South Africa Amid Rising Prices

As South African smokers face declining purchasing power due to escalating tax levies on legitimate cigarettes, many are turning to cheaper illegal alternatives, exacerbating the problem of illicit trade in the country, reports TimesLIVE. Brig-Gen Juan Carlos Buitrago of Colombia's national police highlighted this issue at a conference on illicit trade in Dubai, emphasizing how the ever-rising prices of legal cigarettes, compounded by inflation, drive consumers towards illicit products. Buitrago cautioned against measures proposed in the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill, arguing that they could further fuel the illicit trade by restricting visibility and complicating law enforcement efforts. The economic impact of illicit trade, estimated at R100 billion annually by the South African Revenue Service, underscores the urgency of addressing this issue to mitigate its detrimental effects on the economy and public health.

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