PACSA submission on the proposed National Minimum Wage

We call on the Portfolio Committee on Labour to consider the political consequences of passing a poverty-level National Minimum Wage which with the possible amendments to the Labour Relations Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act will be felt for generations. These will lock Black South African workers and their families into deeper poverty and reproduce the low growth, low wage and low jobs trajectory.

Read full submission here…


PACSA letter to the Standing Committee on Finance on expanding the zero-rated basket to mitigate the effect of VAT

Expanding the basket of zero-rated foods has been contested on the basis of the following arguments:

  • Expanding the basket may disproportionately benefit the rich (because rich or poor we share quite a few common foods).
  • Selecting the new foods to be included in the zero-rated basket is incredibly complex as what foods are eaten, how foods are prepared and changing households purchasing patterns are all influenced by household specific and other complicated external variables. Even with the experience PACSA has around tracking food patterns and prices, there are just far too many variables in creating an expanded zero-rated basket that responds to the requirements of the working class and the impact on the larger economy. At best, we would be able to make an educated guess – but this hardly seems a sufficient response to the crisis we are in.

Read full statement


Resource paper on the proposed VAT and fuel levy hike and its impact for the foods on our plates.

Budget 2018 proposed hiking the VAT rate to 15% and levying a 52 cents hike on the fuel levy. Using food as an entry point and drawing on PACSA’s food price barometer research, the following short paper is intended as a resource to better understand and conceptualize the impact of these proposals for working class households.

Read full paper


2018 Budget Response_PACSA

 Budget 2018 does not respond to the economic crisis as experienced by millions of Black South Africans.

2018 Budget Response_PACSA


VAT Response_PACSA

Zero-rated foods do not protect the poor from the negative impact of the increase in VAT to 15%

2018 VAT response PACSA


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.

Media release


2015 PACSA Food Price Barometer Media Statement

2015 PACSA Food price Barometer 2

MEDIA RELEASE
To: All media
Date: 15 October 2015
Subject: 2015 PACSA Food Price Barometer, Annual Report
For: Immediate release
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Households take on debt to put food on the table
The 2015 PACSA Food Price Barometer finds that low-income households cannot make it through the month on their incomes. They struggled to secure the goods and services needed to live at a level of basic dignity. Households prioritized the payment of transport, education, electricity, burial insurance and the repayment of debt before food. Food is prioritized last because it is one of the few expenses households can control. Because food is last in the line of expenditure, the food budget was low and households under-spent on food by 55.6%.  Read more here


Inside Labour: Budget brings no change for the poor

“WEDNESDAY was budget day, an annual event for the state. But for most South Africans, budget day is every day or, if they are slightly luckier, a weekly or monthly calculation to try to remain at least afloat economically. So what happened this week, along with the plaudits and the protests reflected in the media, will not cause any excitement for more than half the population.”

Inside Labour: Budget brings no change for the poor



Minimum wage call rooted in lived experience

“The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) has based its call for a ZAR8 000 minimum wage on what it calls “the lived experience of ordinary people” of whom 53.8% live below the upper bound poverty line of ZAR779 a month and 21.7% on less than the food poverty line of ZAR335 a month, or ZAR11.17 a day, measured in 2011. In a document prepared in response to finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s maiden budget, Pacsa says its research in Pietermaritzburg showed that a household of five needs at least ZAR8 000 a month to live at a basic level.”

Minimum wage call rooted in lived experience