THE South African economic climate is at its lowest since the first recession back 2008 and has had a negative impact on the country’s growth, affecting the cost of living as many citizens are finding it hard to balance their day to day expenses.There has been a constant rise in the cost of living for the past few years mainly in the fuel prices which directly affects motorists which also automatically determines the rise of consumer goods in stores, then there is the issue of public transportation hikes which is predominantly utilised by the middle to lower earning classes of the population.According to the Statistics SA 2017 report the number of people living in poverty increased to nearly 14 million in the past five years as about half of South Africa survives on less than R992 per month.“These numbers show that average South Africans can’t keep up with the day-to-day expenses and costs of living. One in two are considered to be poor amounting to 66% of the country’s population,” reports the Statistician General Phali Lehohla. A comparison of food prices from 2006 to 2017 shows that white bread which cost R3.75 now costs R12 a loaf on average, one litre of long life milk cost R5.75 in 2006 and now costs on average R12 and a 500g Flora margarine which cost R9.49 in 2006 now costs on average R30.Speaking in economic terms, the inflation it’s fast eating away at the pockets of South Africans with a year on year increase on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) where according to data from Statistics South Africa, food, non-alcoholic beverages, house rates and transport have contributed to about 5.6% annually to the CPI. This actually means South Africans are living beyond their means.Looking at the situation from a local point of view KwaDukuza residents shared their views on how this affects their everyday lives as tax and rates payers. Consumer and motorist Selvi Reddy said prices are too high and salaries are still too low. “With the rise in fuel price and food costs, I have to cut down on food to accommodate my daily travel to work. It seems we are working to get to work and pay bills only. There is little if any room for luxuries.”Stanger resident Maggie Iyer said: “Yes there is an economic crisis and we do experience it in our town and it’s not only the cost of living in KwaDukuza that has affected us but the lack of job opportunities for the young, this has created various avenues for high home invasions, pickpocketing etc.” An unemployed graduate Thalente Ncube from Darnall commented: “This issue is not only unique to KwaDukuza residents only. Life has become too expensive and it’s becoming worse for the youth to secure jobs after studying. We cannot shy away from the truth that political instability is the other factor among other things which contribute to this situation the country finds its self in.”Suraj Authar said: “Well if we were to talk about KwaDukuza, or any rural area for that matter, 80% of the people in these areas are still paid way below the minimum wage. And yes, the cost of living is rising and we get our municipality (KDM) trying to make a quick buck with parking tariffs on public roads and prepaid metres which I consider illegal and to add to that owning your own home these days is a hustle let alone securing a bond for which banks end up repossessing and making money out of it in the process.” The newly appointed minister of Finance Melusi Gigaba recently tabled his fist Mid-term budget of which nothing positive was highlighted about the future growth of the economy as it will reach 1,9% by 2020 a far cry from the required 5.4%. Political uncertainty or not the country needs a turnaround strategy.Share your thoughts on this situation with us, visit the Stanger Weekly Facebook page and have your say.