THE report by Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) reveals that food prices rose again in June. The report indicates that from May to June food prices increased month to month, per basket, by 1.2% from R2 015,60 to R2 039.33 and from 2016 to 2017 food prices went up by eight percent. With food prices going up it is expected that the petrol price will also increase in August, which might result in public transport fares going up. Julie Smith from Pacsa said according to the recent study by Pacsa, this has a very negative implication for the people of Pietermaritzburg because many are struggling to survive and the situation is not going to change soon. “Most families rely on a government grant and the wages of those are work is not enough. When families get money they pay for electricity, school fees, but the last thing they do is buy food.“By the time they have to buy food they don’t have enough money, which forces them to buy starchy food with no protein, dairy and vegetables, and its not good. Children end up getting sick and don’t grow properly,” she said. Smith said this circle has to change as grants and wages are insufficient. “Every year things increase in price, including food, electricity, transport and school fees, but the income remains the same. “Young women are in terrible situation because they have to look for a job to feed their children, but there are no jobs, and even if they get a job, the salary is not enough to enable them to buy the correct food for their children.”She said this problem can only be fixed if people in Parliament change the way they think about politics and increase grant and implement laws that order companies to increase wages. She said the local municipality also has a role to play in making sure that people can afford food. “Municipal services are always going up. Electricity and water is something you need because even if you have food you will need electricity to cook. “Recently the municipality had problems and people didn’t have electricity and water and had to use the little money they had for food to buy water and paraffin,” she said. She said most people in Pietermaritzburg who have HIV have stopped taking their medication because they claim it makes them hungry and they cannot afford food, and when you take your medication in an empty stomach you become more sick. Sthabile Ngobese, who works at Shoprite, said it is very difficult for her as she has two children to feed and take to school.“They both receive government grants, but its not enough. They attend a local school, but it’s a bit far so they need to have transport. They need to carry lunch and need food when they get home from school.“The salary I am getting is not enough and its get worse every time the food prices go up. I still have to travel to work. I end up in debt,” she said.