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UASA Media Release: 25 May 2023
Statement by Abigail Moyo, spokesperson of the trade union UASA:
The 50 basis points increase in the repo rate, as announced by the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) this afternoon, proves the slight relief on workers’ pockets as per the Consumer Price Index (CPI) released yesterday, is indeed short-lived.
The repo rate now stands at 8.25%, while banks’ prime rates will increase to 11.75%. This is the highest rate in 14 years (since 29 May 2009), when the repo rate was reduced to 7.5% from 8.5%.
Amidst the current economic challenges, UASA is deeply concerned about the affordability of essential items. Workers have been dumped into a survival crisis due to interest rate hikes and other increases that eat into their disposable income.
Worse seems still to come. Economists say that if load-shedding becomes more frequent and the MPC decides to increase the repo rate again later this year, it is very likely that the economy will shrink in 2023.
While the powers that be discuss our challenges ad infinitum, the sad reality is that workers must always be prepared and ready to adjust to worsening economic circumstances. More South Africans are suffering in poverty due to the cost of living, including load shedding, the aftermath of Covid-19, and high unemployment.
The recent 2023 UASA South African Employment Report revealed that practical solutions must be implemented, and government must start acting like an enabler of change. Government should enable employment growth by creating an environment inducive to economic growth, including infrastructure development and maintenance and efficient provision of quality services.
It is evident that each stakeholder and individual have a role to play in overcoming the crisis and that government must meet its citizens halfway. The cost of living has become a threat to survival.
UASA encourages its members and all South Africans to keep a tight budget. Living within our means is essential.
For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview,contact Abigail Moyo at 065 170 0162.