‘What it costs to fill up my tank is what pensioner gets as social grant’

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‘What it costs to fill up my tank is what pensioner gets as social grant’

Wallet squeezed by inflation (pixabay.com, 2018)

| Personal finance expert Maya Fisher-French with her perspective on why inflation is hurting us more in SA – on The Money Show.

  • The Money Show
  • Bruce Whitfield
  • SASSA
  • Inflation
  • Food prices
  • Pensioners
  • Food inflation
  • Social Grant
  • Pension
  • Cost of living
  • Maya Fisher-French
  • Old Age Grants

The cost of living crisis is a global problem and South Africans, even with our comparatively moderate inflation rate, are hurting badly.

Bruce Whitfield gets some insight from personal finance journalist Maya Fisher-French (Maya on Money) after she posted a very topical tweet comparing rocketing fuel prices to what a pensioner gets to survive on in the form of a social grant from government.

Fisher-French relates how she went to fill up her car’s 70-litre fuel tank yesterday.

The bill was just over R1 800. What I realised, is that is actually what the old-age pension is…

Maya Fisher-French, Personal Finance Journalist – Maya on Money

… so if you are a pensioner who relies on the government social grant, that’s what you get for a month to live off – what I put in a tank of fuel.

Maya Fisher-French, Personal Finance Journalist – Maya on Money

RELATED: Inflation jumps to 5-year high, breaks through Reserve Bank target range

This comparison serves to highlights the massive disparity and massive poverty problem we have in South Africa, she says.

Pensioner Anne Snyman leaves Mitchells Plain's Town Centre after collecting her pension payout on 30 March 2020. She said she stood in line for six hours. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

It comes down to the question of whether the fuel price is too high, or the social grant too low comments Whitfield, or probably a combination of both factors…

The brutal truth here is although our official inflation rate sits at 6.5%, which by global standards right now is fairly muted, the vast majority of people are spending the vast majority of the little bit of money they have simply on surviving as best they can… because of, particularly, food and energy costs.

Bruce Whitfield, The Money Show host

I think the problem is the fact that people live on social grants and the unemployment in this country.

Maya Fisher-French, Personal Finance Journalist – Maya on Money

I think that’s the factor we have in South Africa that no-one else in the world has… the incredible unemployment rate that is making these prices hurt so much more.

Maya Fisher-French, Personal Finance Journalist – Maya on Money

Fisher-French says people often question our official inflation rate, saying ‘it’s not what my inflation rate is!’.

Of course the inflation rate puts in a whole bundle of things… One of the things that actually has come down is rental, for example… and electronics…

Maya Fisher-French, Personal Finance Journalist – Maya on Money

… but when we feel the things that we have to pay… fuel, electricity, food… that’s why they hurt so much because we can’t avoid them.

Maya Fisher-French, Personal Finance Journalist – Maya on Money

She says it’s important to remember that South Africa is trending with a much lower inflation rate than the country has historically.

“Yes, prices are going up, but they’re still not going up at the same rate that they did in the late 90s and early 2000s.”

Listen to the topical conversation on The Money Show:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : ‘What it costs to fill up my tank is what pensioner gets as social grant’

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