South Africa’s middle class endures rising cost of living

In just one month, the price of a whole chicken from Woolworths has risen by more than 10%, from R49.99 to R54.99 a kilogramme. 

This inflated price tag is just one example of how the pay cheques of otherwise well-off consumers no longer go as far as they used to — and all signs indicate that the higher cost of living will gnaw at middle class incomes for at least the next 12 months.

In another blow to consumers, the petrol price went up by R2.43 this week. The steep increase comes despite the government having extended the reduction of the fuel levy, providing some relief to consumers who have become increasingly vulnerable to financial shocks.

The Mail & Guardian spoke to analysts about what is in store for South African consumers as high fuel and food prices continue to squeeze their incomes. Their resounding message: batten down the hatches, because it is going to be a punishing year on your finances.

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