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Articles in Category: PACSA and Partners in the Media



And still they’re chasing accumulated old debts…

In the past, thanks to the quirky Prescription Act, it wasn’t illegal for a collector to try to get someone to pay a prescribed debt, which is a debt which has been dormant for more than three years – no payment or acknowledgement by the debtor in that time, and no summons issued (with the exception of home loan and state-related debts which only prescribe after 30 years)....[Moreover] According to food price monitor the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action, for every R100 in a middle income household, 77% goes towards servicing debt, leaving very little for food, education and transport. How much of that money is servicing very old, inflated debt when it could be educating or feeding a child, I wonder? Read the full article here published in Dispatch Live on 22 February 2016.

Pravin's done his job - now it's up to ANC

The Budget - aimed at cushioning the poor and middle class from economic hardship - featured a halt on tax hikes, a freeze on thousands of non-critical public service jobs, plans for the trillion-rand nuclear deal put on ice, financially crippled state entities placed in the crosshairs and a R16.3-billion funding boost for higher education to help students...[However] Social-grant increases will barely register a blip in bank accounts and planned fuel levy increases are expected to send food prices skyrocketing.
Mervyn Abrahams, director of the social advocacy group Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action, said the Budget did little to help the poor. "The fuel levy will not only make transport more expensive, it will have a knock-on effect on food prices. The grant increases don't keep up with the recent rapid rise in food prices. Between November and January there was a 9% increase in food prices."  Read the full article here published in the Times Live on 25 February 2016.

Domestic workers to get pay rise

The minimum wage for domestic workers will be increased next month, but analysts have mixed views on whether the pay rise will impact positively on the lives of workers. The Department of Labour announced the wage hikes on Monday which includes an 8% to 10% increase for domestic workers, depending on the hours and areas in which they work.  Read the full article here published in Independent Online News on 17 November 2015

Rate hike sparks warnings of food price rises, tougher times

CONSUMERS will have to dig deep to keep afloat after an increase of 25 basis points in the interest rate was announced yesterday. The new rate at which the Reserve Bank lends to commercial institutions is 6.25%, with the prime lending rate as generally charged by banks rising to 9.75%. The increase caught many economists by surprise. And its announcement was immediately followed by warnings about the effect of the hike on a wide range of items, with the most dire being on food inflation reaching as high as 10%.  Read the full article here published by the Herald on 20 November 2015 

What the national minimum wage should be? If too low, it will be meaningless. If too high, the economy will perish

A national minimum wage (NMW) in South Africa is inevitable. But the level at which it is set will be the difference between addressing poverty and inequality meaningfully and plunging the economy into decline. After a general consensus that a NMW would benefit South Africa, the second day of the NMW symposium held at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) last week covered the level it should be set at and suggested practical guidelines for its implementation...
The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa), for example, uses a price barometer which is revised monthly and includes a static basic basket of goods. When energy and medical expenses are included, poor people would still have to turn to debt, as many already do. Read the full article here published in Money Web on 8 Feb 2016. 

More debt for PMB households

Middle to low-income households, already struggling to make ends meet each month, will be pushed deeper into debt by the latest electricity hike. That is according to Mervyn Abrahams, of the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa), who said he expected more households to have their power cut or forced off the grid.

“This cycle has to stop and Eskom needs to find a different business model that would allow them to generate sufficient electricity at affordable prices for households and business, without pushing hundreds of thousands of households deeper into debt, poverty and darkness,” he said.  Read the full article here published in the Daily News on 3 March 2016.

Food prices go up in multiples

THE market price for cauliflower has increased by as much as 10 times, tomatoes by four and potatoes have almost doubled in the past few months as the impact of the drought starts to show in food shortages and prices, say fresh food producers. Struggling commercial farmers are closing shop and others are downsizing their operations and staff to keep afloat. Read the full article here published on the Kwanalu website but sourced from The Mercury