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Vavi: South Africans more indebted than ever before

Cash strapped consumers are already burdened with the effects of a sluggish economy and a jobs bloodbath, with more than 10 million people unemployed and the situation doesn't seem likely to improve soon, with dismal forecasts for the country's economic growth.

FILE: Saftu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – There are concerns about the impact rising costs continue to have on consumers as increases in municipal tariffs kick in on Monday.

In Joburg, residents will be paying more for services such as water, refuse collection and electricity.

Cash strapped consumers are already burdened with the effects of a sluggish economy and a jobs bloodbath.

South African Federation of Trade Unions' Zwelinzima Vavi said that South Africans were more indebted than ever before.

“People’s cars and homes are being dispossessed in a rate that’s unheard of before. The SMMEs, mainly owned by black people, are being liquidated and the high rate of companies closure. How are we supposed to live?”

More than 10 million people are unemployed and the situation doesn't seem likely to improve soon, with dismal forecasts for the country's economic growth.

WATCH: Online shopping, stokvels, micro-influencing - how to beat rising cost of living

At the Best Before Shop in Sandton, customers stock up on non-perishable food items and other products which would have otherwise ended up at dumping sites.

The items are sold at considerably lower prices because it has either been short-dated or reached their sell-by dates but they are still safe for consumption.

Owner, Alain Soriano, is urging South Africans to spend smarter.

“Everybody is looking for a good deal and this is the situation facing all of us and all classes. No one is sure what to do with the best before date. So, the traditional retailers aren’t geared for this.”

Second-hand trading is also on the rise, with customers putting up items on online platforms such as Gumtree.

Jeff Osborne is head of key accounts at the online classifieds website.

“We’re looking at about 6 million unique visits a month, which is probably 20 million in total, but so far in our biggest category, we found that 1,6 million unique browsers a month.”

Meanwhile, wealth coach Samke Mhlongo has some advice for consumers who want to make their money go a long way and earn extra cash.

“Start a side hustle - how do I monetise my hobbies? Become an eating out influencer... tag the brands you use on social media.”

At the same time, there might be some relief for consumers, with fuel prices expected to come down this month.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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