PACSA eNewsletter: No.05 2016

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Dear friends

Greetings from PACSA

Winter is truly behind us now and spring has arrived ushering in much warmer weather.
In the previous newsletter I mentioned that the country was preparing for local government elections. These elections has taken place and some commentators speak of a “political terrain that has shifted significantly” as the ANC lost its majority in a number of the major cities. An important story of the election is also the high number of voters who made a political statement by staying away from the polls and thus contributing to the decline of the ANC support in urban areas. We will explore the meaning of the local government election results for the future of South Africa in our roundtable on 14 September. We will report on these discussions in the next newsletter.

During the month of October PACSA stage a number of activities, including the Annual Film and Arts Festival. Please see the upcoming events in this newsletter and we hope that the Pietermaritzburg and Durban readers will join us for these events.

We also hope you find the various articles in this newsletter informative. Please feel free to engage with us on any of these issues.


Mervyn Abrahams
PACSA Director
PACSA enewsletter news

Electricity Action Group wins important court victory

Electricity Action Group members picket outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court before the hearing
On Thursday the 28th July 2016 the first public interest case in the country to clarify the rights of citizens to access free basic electricity was to be heard in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. The case was brought by the Electricity Action Group [EAG], a group of mostly elderly women residing in low-income households from communities across Pietermaritzburg.

Reviving water springs - caring for our water resource

Inspecting the natural springs
The community of Gezubuso, a semi-rural area outside Pietermaritzburg, has initiated a project to clean and revive the natural network of water springs in the area in order to meet the community’s need for water.

Solidarity with the people of Tolima to stop the ‘La Colosa’ mine

Jorge Rubiano Cielo Paez Ximena Gonzalez and Sylvia Pratten the Spanish translator at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg
For the past 9 years the people of Tolima and Quindio, in the Andes Mountains of Colombia, has been resisting the development of an open-pit gold mine by Anglo Gold Ashanti.

PACSA at the Jozie Book Fair

Jozie book fair
Mervyn Abrahams from PACSA was invited to be part of a panel discussion at the Jozzie Book Fair in September 2016. The fair, hosted by Khanya College at Wits University, featured numerous book launches, workshops, exhibitions and discussion forums.
PACSA enewsletter foodpricebarometer

PACSA monthly food price barometer

Food price inflation in the baskets of low-income households’ edge up to 20% year-on-year, with maize meal up 40%.

August 2016 saw the price of the PACSA Food Basket (a basket modelled to track food price inflation on low-income households) increase to its highest levels year-on-year.
PACSA enewsletter upcoming events
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PACSA enewsletter inthemedia

This is how much it now costs to feed a family of 5 in South Africa

The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) has released its monthly food price barometer for August 2016, showing that the cost of a ‘minimum’ basket of food has hit its highest point to date. The Pacsa food price inflation basket tracks the affordability of food and other essential household requirements for working class households, in a context of low wages, social grants and high levels of unemployment. Read the full article here:

SA leans on credit to maintain living standards

Middle-class South Africans are living beyond their means and edging closer to the breadline. "The fact that these households need to access credit to maintain living standards could be an indication that South Africans continue to live beyond their means."He added that it was also indicative of the country's struggle to "create wealth in a depressed economic environment". The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action barometer - which measures food prices month by month - showed that the cost of a basic food basket had increased by 1.4% from R1887.83 in June to R1914.29 last month. Lamberti said in South Africa's current economic environment the main factors impending household cash flow was "particularly sticky inflation for non-discretionary goods such as food". Read the full article here:

Basic food prices increase month by month: survey

The price of food continues to soar, with a basket of essential goods increasing by R301 in the past year. This is according to social justice NGO, Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa), which tracks the monthly food inflation on 36 basic food items. The latest food price barometer was released on Thursday by the agency. For basic food items bought mostly by lower-income households, the food basket increased by R26.46 (1.4%) from June to July. “Year-on-year the Pacsa food basket increased by R301.46 (18.7%) from R1 612.83 in July 2015 to R1 914.29 in July 2016,” Mervyn Abrahams, director of Pacsa, said. Read the article here:
PACSA enewsletter writetous 
170 Hoosen Haffejee Street, 
Pietermaritzburg, 3201
P O Box 2338, Pietermaritzburg,
3200, South Africa