SA's poor take a battering at the till
THE DA has raised a red flag over the price of food, saying that it ate up 39% of poor people's incomes.
Yesterday the party's trade and industry spokesman Wilmot James said at a parliamentary press briefing that the DA was committed to putting affordable food at the forefront of its policy agenda.
James said survey data indicated that 52% of households experienced hunger, while a further 33% were at risk as a consequence of declining purchasing power.
He said that food price hikes had outstripped inflation rates with a rise of 14.3% in food while the CPI rose at a rate of 6.3%.
"The cost of basic staples is rising even faster. The price of a 5kg bag of maize meal - a staple food for many South African families - rose by 63.88% between January last year and January this year.
"For poor families that rely on a single breadwinner or depend on state grants to get by, this represents a fundamental subsistence crisis," James said.
Research conducted by the DA and various international organisations showed that one third of households reported running out of money to buy sufficient food and one out of five children said they were hungry because of this.
"The proportion of undernourished people in South Africa today has not declined since 2000. It is twice that of Malaysia and Chile, and roughly the same as Gabon. A varied basket of healthy and nutritious foods consisting of carbohydrates, protein, fruit and dairy costs up to 100% more than in other developing countries," James said.
He blamed the situation on lack of competition.