South Africans have been asked to tighten their belts, while being hit with constant price increases – from electricity, to petrol, and now food. KWAZI DLAMINI asked some Durbanites how they will be coping with increased food prices.
Nontando Gcuma, 25, hairdresser, Matikwe
I believe food prices are affecting everyone, rich or poor, but it will hit the poor more. We have no control over such things, we just have to pay the money and cut on some things in our budget because food is more important. I think that is the reason why they keep hiking the food prices; they know food is essential for the survival of a human being, we can’t boycott it. I usually buy groceries for my parents when I go home, and I was shocked when I saw the food prices. The government abandoned us a long time ago because they can personally afford expensive things.
Buhlebezwe Zulu, 23, student, Ntuzuma
I did not even know that food prices are going up, simply because my parents buy the groceries at home. But clearly that is not a good thing for the people of this country. In the future, I will have to start buying groceries when I’m working and maybe the price will be much higher then. The problem is that the food prices continue going up but I doubt people’s salaries are also going up, so I can safely say the act is a selfish one. The only way to cope [with] this is to cut out the less important stuff in your budget.
Sme Mkhize, 25, waitress, Westville
Hikes in food prices have affected us in a big and scary way. At home, we used to buy at most two 2kg packs of chicken a month, but now they don’t even last half of the month, yet they have become so expensive. We only buy beef on special occasions because of its high price and now we buy 5kg of chicken a month. There will come a time where buying meat will be a luxury just like it was back in the day for most black people. As for maizemeal, we have to buy it because it is something we grew up eating. We cope by compromising on some things like not doing nails for that month or your hair.
Nombuso Dzanibe, 22, student, St George’s
As a student, it is very difficult for me as I don’t get enough money at home to keep me going for the whole month, and to have a situation like this makes things worse. Even though I don’t buy big groceries, maizemeal, rice, eggs and cooking oil are a necessity and all those things have become so expensive that I now buy the smaller portions. Everything is going up in this country – if it’s not food, it’s petrol – we are really living in difficult times. Now I don’t enjoy some junk food at the end of the month until I buy things that will keep me going for the most part of the month.
Simo Dlamini, 24, unemployed, KwaMashu
Rising food prices are bad news to everyone [and] even worse to those who are unemployed like me who depend on family. Every time I open the fridge at home my mother always shouts at me telling me to stop eating too much because food is expensive and I’m not contributing anything. It is visible that food is expensive because by mid-month the fridge is already empty and she has to start borrowing money so we can have something to eat. I think the government should come up with a plan to help the farmers so that they will not hike their prices. That will also help us the customers.
Voxes have been edited for brevity and clarity