7 things that have become more expensive in South Africa this year

 ·18 Aug 2021

Statistics South Africa published its Consumer Price Index (CPI) for July 2021, with inflation edging lower to 4.6% in July from 4.9% in June and 5.2% in May.

In July, the monthly increase in the consumer price index (CPI) was 1%, the highest monthly jump since July 2020, when the CPI increased by 1.3%.

The primary drivers behind the monthly rise were alcoholic beverages, housing and utilities, transport and medical insurance, StatsSA said.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages were the largest contributors to the annual rate, with price increases remaining steady at 6.7%, unchanged from June and May.

Some of the largest annual price increases (July 2020 vs July 2021) were recorded for the following goods and services:

  • Oils and fats: +22.4%
  • Fuel: +15.2%
  • Electricity and other fuels: +13.6%
  • Meat: +9.4%
  • Wine: +8.1%
  • Sugar, sweets, and desserts: +6.5%
  • Milk, eggs, and cheese: +6.3%


Meat and oils and fats continue to exert upward pressure, with meat prices rising by 9.4% over the past twelve months, said Stats SA. “This rate has climbed steadily since August 2020 and is currently at its highest level since March 2018.

“Inflation for oils & fats also continues to escalate, reaching an annual rate of 22.4%, the highest in almost 10 years.”

The statistics body said that the inflation of sugar, sweets, and desserts has slowed, from a 12-month high of 9.7% in October 2020 to 6.5% in July 2021.

In July, prices for alcoholic beverages recorded a monthly rise of 1.7%, the highest increase since March 2019.

Red and white wine prices increased sharply, both recording a 3.8% rise in July from June.

Rates and fuel

Municipalities typically increase service charges in July and August with the beginning of the municipal financial year.

Although water charges increased by less than last year, hikes for electricity and assessment rates were higher than 2020.

Water charges increased by 7% (compared with 9.9% in 2020), electricity tariffs by 13.8% (compared with 6.3% in 2020), and assessment rates by 4.3% (compared with 3.5% in 2020).

Fuel prices increased by 1.7% between June and July. This took the annual rate to 15.2%, down from June’s reading of 27.5%.

The inclusion of new price changes for medical insurance (medical aid) took the annual rate for this category from 4.6% in June to 5.9% in July.

Read: How salaries in South Africa are shrinking

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