South Africa’s three major cities will introduce new tariff schemes for residents from Thursday (1 July), with a steep increase in the cost of both water and lights set to be introduced.
While all three cities said that they aimed to reduce costs for South Africans who have taken financial strain during the Covid-19 lockdown, the impact of national government increases and mounting municipal debts means that residents can largely expect similar increases.
Below is a comparison of how much each city will be increasing rates this year.
Looking ahead into the third quarter, economists have warned that consumers should brace for a number of price increases and the tightening of wallets.
In a note this week, the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) flagged several potential issues which could impact consumer household finances:
- The expiration of the social grant top-ups and the SRD grant, which aggregated to about R20 billion in extra income per quarter for low-income consumers;
- The end of the TERS programme;
- Hikes in fuel and electricity prices;
- Rising food inflation;
- Below-inflation adjustments to social grants.
These issues will continue to put the household finances of low-income consumers under significant pressure. This will in turn hurt the sales volumes and bottom line of non-durable goods retailers, the BER said.
“With South Africa now in the midst of a third wave of the pandemic, other risks also lie ahead for the entire trade sector. The very slow vaccine rollout could see renewed lockdown restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, harming the sector.
“The weak labour market, as well as the power supply crisis at Eskom, also do not bode well for the trade sector in general.”