Public opinions

South Africans have been urged to budget for the value-added tax (VAT) increase from 14 to 15 percent, which came into effect on Sunday. Households raised concerns about the impact on their standard of living and their ability to save and transact freely, along with soaring fuel and food prices. Dumelang News has taken to the streets this week  to hear what they have to say:

Blantina Manhe - I am worried about this whole thing going forward because my salary still remains the same while everything else goes up. I spend about R3 500 on groceries alone every month and with that one percent increase, and food getting even more expensive, it is obvious that my budget will also have to increase with money I don’t have. Moreso, this is going to hit hard on the pensioners because their grant already cannot afford their families… something should have been done to avoid this increase. I only foresee more problems for all of us.

Selinah Mkhuane - I am a pensioner and single mother and it is frustrating already to raise children with grant money. Food is going to increase, so is transport, school fees and almost everything that we need on a day to day basis... I wonder how are going to afford that. Our government has failed us by increasing VAT, maybe if they had said to us… ‘look, we have opened a shop where only pensioners will buy their food or we are opening jobs for everyone’, things would have been better. Our kids are still unemployed and depend on our pension.

Winnie Sehloho - When I first heard about this, it was talking about zero-rated food not going to be affected, and I thought ‘wow’ that will be better as we will have to budget for those not affected alone when buying food. However, I was soon made aware by my older son that actually everything is going to be affected.
He explained that even if I can resort to only brown bread for them going to school, they will still require margarine, peanut butter, or jam, cheese, polony in addition to brown bread… these are all subject to VAT. I don’t know how to avoid that now.

Simon Chitjha - This is going to be very difficult for everyone to adjust to it. The only way ‘I think’ to survive is by ensuring that we start banking our money in our own houses… though that will pose a huge risk of losing it through house break-ins, it will never be taken by banks.
 It pains me to realise that every month I am losing a lot of money through bank charges already and now that money is going to increase. How is my family going to survive because my income is not increasing but everything else is?

Johan Lotter - It will affect all of us but I think that the poorest of the poor people in this country are the ones who will be affected most because they are already barely surviving with little income and some with no income at all. Although I don’t think the increase could have been avoided because everything goes up as time goes by and the world changes. We only need to change our way of living to be able to adapt to the current lifestyle and the changes… that means learn to budget more and know the difference between needs and wants.

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