ANC NEC calls on government to act on rising cost of living

The ANC national executive committee (NEC) is concerned about the rising cost of living just as the country recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

During its meeting held on July 2 to 4, where the party tackled critical issues facing the country and its counterparts, the NEC noted “with concern” that many South African households are strained financially as food and fuel prices continue to sour.

Food security and load-shedding are some of the issues that were discussed.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement on Tuesday: “The NEC noted with concern that rising food and fuel prices, and increases in municipal tariffs and interest rates, have placed severe pressure on the incomes and living standards of households still struggling to recover from the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Whilst South Africa is one of the most food-secure countries, a number of global factors such as extreme weather conditions, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine have disrupted global food supply chains and led to food shortages and sharp price increases.”

Mabe said the NEC commended interventions to mitigate against the rising food and transport costs and has also called on the government to intensify support to farmers as they ensure food security.

“The NEC commended a number of interventions by government to mitigate against rising food and transport costs, such as the timely payment of social grants, the school nutrition programme, and efforts by the Competition Commission to protect consumers from unreasonable price increases.

“The NEC called on government to intensify support for small and subsistence farmers to ensure ongoing food security and affordability of foodstuffs, including through building our capacity to produce fertilisers. In this regard, the NEC welcomed efforts to gain waivers to allow African countries to produce their own fertilisers.”

He added: “The NEC called upon all South Africans to join hands during Mandela Month in July 2022 in a focus on food, including by establishing and supporting community and backyard food gardens and the planting of fruit trees.”

In June, Statistics SA revealed that South Africa’s consumer price inflation (CPI) increased from 5.9% to 6.5 in May, pointing to rising fuel prices. According to the CPI report, this was the highest figure recorded since 2017 when the rate reached 6.6%.

Although fuel is a major contributor to the annual rate, transport, food, and non-alcoholic beverages also contribute greatly. The CPI report shows that the inflation rate falls to 5.1% from 6.5% if the impact of fuel is removed.

Meanwhile, cooking oil prices continue to soar. Stats SA said food and non-alcoholic beverages’ prices increased by 2.1% between April and May, becoming the highest increase since February 2016 when the rate was at 2.1%.

According to Stats SA, the oils and fats group continues to sustain a high level of inflation as it recorded a 10.1% increase between April and May, becoming the highest ever recorded since 1997 when the monthly rate was above 10%. The annual rate was 26.9% in May.

“Sunflower oil, the product with the highest weight in the oils and fats group, is almost 40% more expensive than it was a year ago. Prices jumped by 16.1% between April and May. The monthly rate for bread and cereals was 3.4%, taking the annual rate to 8.4%. Maize-meal recorded a monthly increase of 5.1% and a loaf of white bread was 3.7% more expensive,” it said.

Added Stats SA: “Annual meat inflation has remained above the 6% mark since November 2020, with the reading for May 2022 at 9.4%. Prices for individually quick frozen chicken portions and stewing beef increased by 13.7% and 12.2%, respectively in the twelve months to May.”

Also read: SA’s consumer price inflation races to five-year high

More woes for motorists as fuel price shoots up again

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