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  • Grassroots organisations act in their own names and are accompanied in their own advocacy and development.
  • The work of livelihoods groups has improved food security as a result of their food production and micro enterprises.
  • Our work and our practice seek to enhance human dignity.

Release of the 2017 PACSA Food Price Barometer annual report

The PACSA Food Price Barometer is an indicator of food price inflation on the baskets of low-income households. It shows the impact of food price inflation for low-income urban households in Pietermaritzburg but is able to express a picture of what is happening in low-income homes across South Africa. Because of the way women living on low incomes allocate their expenditures: food prices cannot be analysed outside the economy; nor can the economy be analysed outside the foods in our trolleys and on our plates. The Barometer is a useful instrument to measure the state’s political choices and economic performance. It finds that households living on low incomes are coming under enormous pressure as the crisis in our economy deepens and many of the buffers and instruments to mitigate the impact of the crisis are not available. Read more

Why 30 million South Africans are trapped in poverty – even with a national minimum wage

The latest data from the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) shows exactly why millions of South Africans identified in a recent Stats SA poverty report are trapped in low standards of living. For black South Africans, 64.2% (around 29 million people at mid-year population estimates for 2017) live below the upper bound poverty line, Pacsa said. Combining these figures with employment statistics, Pacsa calculated that a single salary in the average black South African household needs to support 4 people. “Poverty is worsening. You cannot disconnect rising poverty levels from the economy. The economy is driving and deepening poverty,” the group said.
To read the full article published by Business Tech go to https://businesstech.co.za/news/wealth/196966/why-30-million-south-africans-are-trapped-in-poverty-even-with-a-national-minimum-wage/

PACSA Monthly Food Price Barometer: August 2017

Statistics South Africa’s latest Poverty Trends in South Africa Report (2017) shows that one quarter of South Africa’s population (25.2% or 13.8 million people) live below the food poverty line (R531 per capita per month); and 55.5% (30.4 million people) live below the upper bound poverty line (R1 138 per capita per month). For Black South Africans, 64.2% (approx. 29 million people) live below the upper bound poverty line. Poverty is worsening. You cannot disconnect rising poverty levels from the economy. The economy is driving and deepening poverty. Read the August 2017 Food Price Barometer here.


The January 2018 PACSA Food Price Barometer shows the inadequacy of the value of the Child Support Grant to support households to provide a basic but nutritionally complete monthly diet for a boy/girl child between the ages of 10-13 years.

World Food Day 16th October 2017: The crisis of the economy is being reflected on our plates.

World Food Day 16th October 2017: The crisis of the economy is being reflected on our plates.

The crisis of the economy is being reflected on our plates: the state has not intervened – millions of South Africans have been left to fend for themselves. Women are using their bodies to buffer the crisis. The economic crisis is spiralling. It is untenable and will only drive poverty and inequality deeper. Government must intervene decisively. Food is a public good – corporates should not consider food just as a profit generating commodity. Absolutely every resource and all political energy should be focused on immediately eliminating child stunting. Workers must be paid a Living Wage and the social security system must be used as an instrument to mitigate the impact of the economic crisis. See media release.

Let's raise minimum wages to stave off revolutionLet's raise minimum wages to stave off revolution

THE story is headlined ‘PACSA says you should pay your domestic worker R8,000 a month – minimum’, so it was bound to cause a stir – especially when the story mentioned that the median salary of whites was R10 000 a month. (Psst: median ain’t average – the average white salary is more like R25 000.) But actually, PACSA’s point was about minimum wages generally, and it’s a good one. Because the current minimum wages are damn low: the average minimum wage as currently set is R2 362. (The top minimum wage for domestic workers for 2017, in the cities, is R2 422.54; the lowest is R1 562.21.)
Read the full article written by Mandi Smallhorne and published in Fin24 at http://www.fin24.com/Opinion/lets-raise-minimum-wages-to-stave-off-revolution-20170807

Shifting the hegemonic narrative that “jobs are the solution” to our economic crisis

Statistics South Africa released its jobs statistics for the 2nd Quarter of 2017: 9.3 million South Africans are unemployed. Data from the past several years shows that the employment trajectory has not changed. The racial structure of our labour market and wage levels has not been transformed.  The expanded unemployment rate has stagnated.  The long period of excessively high levels of unemployment amongst our youth (15-24 years) appears to be solidifying and expanding into higher age cohorts (25-44 years) as people get older. We are not just failing to create jobs; we are actually shedding jobs in these, the most productive sectors of our labour force (persons aged between 25-44 years). Our economic crisis is deepening.  Read more here


PACSA is an independent, faith-based, non-governmental organisation that has worked to achieve social and economic justice for over 30 years. PACSA works for improved social cohesion as inequality and poverty is reduced in communities in the uMgungundlovu District in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
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