The Pietermaritzburg household food basket has increased by R128,33 (3,2%) over the past month and now stands at R4093.
Other cities which have seen a massive spike in food prices after the unrest were Durban whose household food basket increased by R161,60. It now stands at R4288,51. Johannesburg saw an increase of R143,27, with the household food basket now standing at R4331,13.
The household and affordability index for Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Springbok, and Pietermaritzburg was released on Tuesday.
The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and dignity group programme coordinator Mervyn Abrahams said the August 2021 data show that all baskets, regardless of region had increased.
Abrahams also said that all baskets including the average cost of the basket was at its highest level since they started tracking the household food basket in September last year.
“The average cost of all household baskets has increased by R384,78 or 10% to R4 241,11 over the past 12 months,” said Abrahams.
He said the food price spikes indicate that households were enduring great hardships and that it was incumbent on the state to intervene.
“At the very minimum the social relief of distress (SRD) R350 grant must be paid out immediately, as well as the destroyed, affected or looted workplaces (through the) temporary financial relief scheme. These measures are small and will not solve the problem but will help while the bigger economic questions are resolved,” said Abrahams.
He said the delay in paying out the grants dispensing relief to households and workers affected by the unrest in July was resulting in unnecessary suffering.
“The hardship that is being created now keeps the possibility of more unrest alive. We are in the middle of an emergency food crisis. It is critical that money gets to people as soon as possible.
“The decision by government to start the SRD grant process from scratch when the systems are in place for immediate cash transfer is astounding,” said Abrahams.
He also called for monies meant to be paid to affected workers to be paid out immediately.
“Government is precipitating yet another crisis by its inaction. Tensions are escalating between workers and employers because workers do not trust that the monies have not yet been dispensed.
“There is no need for this level of bureaucracy which is delaying money getting to where it is most needed. People could die,” said Abrahams.