Poverty, cost of food rising in South Africa: Stats SA

03 February 2015 - 14:26 By Sapa
Mother with child begging. File photo.
Mother with child begging. File photo.
Image: Beeld/Alet Pretorius/ Gallo Images

The number of South Africans living in poverty has increased since 2010, Statistics SA said on Tuesday.

In 2010, 20 percent of South Africa's population fell below the poverty line, statistician general Pali Lehohla said in Johannesburg, at the release of a report on poverty.

This had increased to 21.5 percent in 2014, he said.

Five years ago, it cost an average South African R321 per month to buy food with the recommended energy requirements. This had increased to R355 in 2014.

"The same is true for the austere poverty line, which stipulates the threshold below which one has to sacrifice some food to obtain some basic non-food items," Lehohla said..

These items included airtime and transportation costs.

"This line is revised upwards from R441 to R501, per person per month," Lehohla said.

While the cost of living had gone up, South Africa still fared much better than other countries.

According to the Stats SA report, the country's food poverty line translated to US2.34 (about R26) per person per day.

This was almost double the international line for extreme poverty, at US1.25 (about R14) per person per day.

"This means that, on average, South Africans are enjoying relatively higher living standards compared to many populations across the world that live below US1.25 per day," Lehohla said.

Stats SA prepared the report to help government departments and other public agencies determine how much money was spent on social grants and the access people had to free government services.

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