25 August 2022


Press Release: Oxfam South Africa stands in Solidarity with the #NationalShutdown


On 24th August 2022, COSATU and SAFTU organized a nationwide shutdown over the escalating cost of living in South Africa wherein a Memorandum was handed to the Deputy Minister Hon. Mondli Gugubele[1]. The memorandum outlined organized labor’s demands which included calls to raise the national minimum wage to R72 per hour; a basic income grant of R1500; and the scrapping of the government’s 2% wage increase offer at the ongoing public service wage negotiations.[2]

This course of action is an important demonstration to all in the country, especially in a context where people have been impacted by the hike in food prices, fuel, and public transport. This, coupled with the looming health and job crisis, energy blackouts, and dire living conditions has had a negative impact on economic growth, has widened the inequality gap, and continues to perpetuate cyclical poverty. Marginalized communities that are often at the periphery of state interventions have been hardest hit by the economic downturn. Corruption and a steady decline in the citizenry’s confidence in the state’s ability to govern effectively, have eroded trust and undermined the democratic project in South Africa.

Statistics South Africa shows that petrol prices rose by 32.6% and 35.1% in March 2022 resulting in an increase in transport costs. Food categories in the Consumer Price Index basket that registered price increases include bread and cereal, meat, milk, eggs, fish, sugar, sweets, oils, and fats during the same period.[3]The Competition Commission’s inquiry into the food prices to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis on the food value chain and food markets shows that South Africa’s food prices increased by 9% from June 2022.[4] Retail prices of sunflower oil have increased by 36%.[5] The impact of souring food price inflation will continue to affect all consumers, but more adversely on the poorest households.

Our view is that the voices of workers need to be taken into consideration by the government, policymakers, and business community. Efforts to address the current economic crisis must be anchored by a strong commitment to establishing robust safety nets for workers and communities to ensure a decent standard of living for all. This will require concerted efforts on the part of the government, civil society, and the business community to foster the development of sustainable solutions that stimulate economic growth in a manner that addresses the worsening inequality gap and responds to the needs of an evolving society.

For more information on our work on worker rights under our Women, Justice and Power Programme, kindly visit our website at; For media queries contact;

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